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El Dorado County residents scramble to find home insurance in wildfire-prone area: "It's becoming a crisis."

El Dorado County residents discuss California's insurance crisis
El Dorado County residents discuss California's insurance crisis 03:01

CAMINO - With major insurance companies announcing they would not renew California home insurance policies, some people in El Dorado County were left scrambling.

Many community members said they've either been dropped from their policy altogether or they can't afford the price anymore.

"It just keeps climbing, and, I mean, it's becoming a crisis," George Osborne, Camino resident, said.

Osborne has lived in El Dorado County for 28 years and was previously a unit fire chief for Cal Fire.

"It should be done by the parcel, not by the zip code," Osborne said.

He said fire insurance has been an issue he has dealt with since the Camp Fire.

"We had Farmers and then we went to Merced and Merced went bankrupt in Paradise. They had an oversubscribed amount of people, I guess," Osborne said.

Osborne said they left their Famers policy because it was getting too expensive, many years ago. Now, they're on the California FAIR Plan for fire insurance.

"It's just fire, then you have to have the wrap-around for liabilities – a tree falling through your roof or whatever – and that cost is going up too," Osborne said.

Even on the FAIR Plan, Osborne said he now pays more than $5,000 per year for fire insurance alone, which he said is more than doubled from years past.

He said this has caused him and his wife to talk about moving or downsizing.

"We love it here. We absolutely love living here. We've got great neighbors, but it's just becoming too much," Osborne said.

Even if people end up wanting to sell their homes, longtime Pollock Pines realtor Bill Buetow said it may not be that simple.

"Deals will drop out if you can't qualify. The way you qualify now for buying a home, you have to submit a bid, an insurance bid, and they'll take that into consideration," Buetow said.

We reached out to the California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara, and his statement was as follows:

"We have an insurance crisis caused by climate change, global issues, and outdated regulations. In some parts of our state you cannot find insurance at any price. Increasing availability of insurance is how we will protect affordability. My strategy brings insurance companies back to writing policies in California and competing for your business. Greater availability of insurance is going to get people the insurance they need at a price they can afford. I brought insurance companies to the table and under our agreement they will increase availability in wildfire distressed areas. For any companies that fail to follow through on their commitment, I will use our enforcement authority to re-assess their rates."

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