Nonrenewals in Marin County

Residents of Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Sausalito, West Marin and many other communities and towns in Marin County are about to start getting a lot more homeowners nonrenewals.

This article about nonrenewals is intended to be a community resource as well as a form of marketing. It is intended to answer the question: Why are So Many People in Marin Losing their Home Insurance? Feel free to use our information to purchase insurance through a different vendor or you can contact us, but please just get insured.

What is a Non Renewal or NonRenewal?

Nonrenewals are the mechanism that home insurers use to not continue to offer you home insurance. A nonrenewal will happen at the end of your insurance policy period, when the policy would normally be set to renew. Home insurance contracts in the United States are typically sold in periods of one year. From 12:01AM on a given day to 12:01AM on a given day one year later. For the record the exact time is important.

Nonrenewals and cancellations are different. According the Insurance Information Institute a cancellation typically will only happen for one of two reasons: non payment or if “you have committed fraud or made serious misrepresentations on your application.” Cancellations and nonrenewals can heavily be regulated by the state in which the home owners policy and home are located in.

The California Department of Insurance is the regulatory body for Marin County, therefore their rules and regulations on this subject are what we will focus on. According to Findlaw and the state Insurance Code: ” A notice of nonrenewal shall be in writing and shall be delivered or mailed to the producer of record and to the named insured at the mailing address shown on the policy. ” In other words both your insurance agent need to be made aware in writing on the policy not renewing.

Furthermore: ” An insurer, at least 60 days, but not more than 120 days, in advance of the end of the policy period, shall give notice of nonrenewal, and the reasons for the nonrenewal, if the insurer intends not to renew the policy, or to condition renewal upon reduction of limits, elimination of coverages, increase in deductibles, or increase of more than 25 percent in the rate upon which the premium is based.” Basically this is the time frame from BEFORE the policy ends that they have to notify you. In writing!

And, ” If an insurer fails to give timely notice required by subdivision (c), the policy of insurance shall be continued, with no change in its terms or conditions, for a period of 60 days after the insurer gives the notice.” There are numerous other provisions set forth in the California Insurance code about nonrenewals.

Marin., CA People losing their home insurance

Why Would An Insurer Non Renew a Home Insurance Policy:

As an agent myself, I cannot tell you for certain why all policies are non renewing, but I can suggest my opinions.

In general home insurance companies need to either be profitable (for corporations) or at least revenue neutral (for mutuals.) They can only have so many years of paying out more in claims than they take in. Therefore insurers are constantly reevaluating their books of business. These are some of the major reasons they nonrenew policies:

  • Their Underwriting Criteria have Changed
  • The Insured Property has too many Insurance Claims
  • Reinsurance
  • Statewide or Company Wide Changes

Statewide or company wide actions refer to insurers pulling all policies of a certain type or kind from the whole state. There are of course many more reasons that you home insurance company may choose to not offer you an annual renewal.

Why is Marin County Getting So Many NonRenewals?

First off, its not just Marin County. Numerous other counties in California are receiving homeowners nonrenewals.

In general the main reason, in my opinion, is that Home Insurers are concerned about the wildfire risk in this county. The quantity and density in trees are of real concern. Some areas of particular concern just north of San Francisco are:

  • The Headlands up through Muir Wood and Panoramic Highway
  • Much of Mill Valley
  • Christmas Tree Hill in Corte Madera
  • The Northern Side of Mt Tam, including the Water District Lands
  • Most of West Marin, including San Geronimo, Pt Reyes Station, Bolinas
  • Parts of Western Marin including Indian Valley, etc

There are of course additional parts of the county such as properties abutting the China Camp State Park lands that can also be of some concern.

Another factor that contributes to nonrenewals is the overall cost of building here. Anyone that lives in Marin County certainly knows that it costs a LOT to build a house here. A large percentage of insurers will not take on policies with a rebuild of more than $750,000 or even $800,000.

To summarize, Marin County is getting lots of homeowners nonrenewals because we have so many wildlands in this county and in general wildlands with trees represent risk to insurance companies. That beautiful view that you might have out your window might be costing you your insurance policy.

Is Global Warming Playing a Role in All of This?

I am not a scientist, just an insurance agent. However its hard to see how Global Warming is not connected, to at least a limited extent, to your home owners nonrenewal. According to the New York Times: ” In California, 15 of the 20 largest fires in state history have burned since 2000.” The fact is that fires seem to be getting bigger, more destructive, and deadlier in recent years. Insurers are struggling to calculate this risk.

Mill Valley CA home insurance  not renewing

What to do when You Get that Nonrenewal?

In years past I have recommended that you call two independent agents. However do to recent events, I am now recommending that you find only one independent agent and attempt to stick with him or her.

Here is what to do when you get a notice of non renewal:

  • Confirm your nonrenewal with your Insurance Company.
  • Contact an Independent Insurance Agent.
  • Inquire about Admitted, Non Admitted, and the California FAIR plan.

Do all of these things as SOON as possible, do not wait. It will often take your independent agent a few weeks to fully run all of the available options for you.

Other Non Renewal Resources for Marin County:

About this Article:

One may notice that both the term nonrenewal and non renewal as well as non-renewal are all used in this article. This is done on purpose.