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Some Calif. Residents Face Losing Fire Protection Insurance After Moratorium Protecting Them Expired

ARCADIA (CBSLA) — Thousands of California residents could lose their fire protection insurance and face sky-high premiums after a state moratorium that protected them recently expired.

Some homeowners say they are already feeling the impacts and worry about what's next.

"This time, they gave us an increase on the bill, so we're not happy about it," said Arcadia resident Imy Dulake.

Dulake just got a notice letting her know that beginning in November, it's going to cost her family more to insure their Arcadia home against fires.

Now that the state's moratorium guaranteeing insurance in wildfire-prone areas has lapsed, experts say this is something many homeowners can expect.

"Unfortunately, particularly those near the wildland-urban interface are gonna face significantly higher rates and difficulty renewing," said Cal State Northridge Professor of Insurance and Finance David Russell.

Russell said the 2018 moratorium prevented insurance companies from raising rates or cancelling homeowners policies in or near wildfire areas following a devastating fire.

The goal was to give homeowners time to make their homes fire resistant. Russell believes now that homeowners are left vulnerable to rate increases or non-renewals, many will be turning to the California Fair Plan.

"The California Fair Plan is a public facility that allows consumers who might not otherwise be able to insurance, they might be in a high-risk area, it allows them to get insurance," Russell said.

"We have to have homeowners insurance plus Fair Plan for the fire insurance…because it's required in this area," Dulake said. "Some of the insurance companies will not accept as a part of regular homeowners insurance."

Dulake hopes her insurance rates won't keep going u. she's concerned her family will be left without coverage if wildfires keep burning in our state."The commissioner's office is going to try to moderate the rate increases," Russell said. "There's a middle ground we hope the commissioner and insurers will find."

"The state should really help the residents here," said Dulake.

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