Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 7:18 pm | Fair 66º

 
 
 

Ed Fuller: With Homes at Risk for Wildfire, Take Time to Review Your Insurance Policy

Although the last few fires burned most of the mountains spilling into the Santa Barbara area, I am told there is still plenty of fuel for new fires. As fire season continues, what is the extent of the danger?

Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

One major insurer has defined it by refusing to write new fire insurance in the 93108, 93103 and 93105 ZIP codes. Several years ago, another major insurer refused to write any new fire insurance in the state.

As fire insurance is a requirement of any home loan, the lack of competition can add an another burden for a buyer.

For those with homes at risk, it’s time to review your policies.

A local insurance broker pointed out that many policies will only provide full replacement cost if the property is insured “to value.” In other words, the amount of insurance must equal all or a large percentage of the cost to rebuild. If not adequately insured, the policy will default to a formula that only insures for the “depreciated” (actual cash) value of the improvements, not the full replacement cost.

The catch here is that after a major fire, construction costs tend to rise dramatically. This new, increased cost to replace your home could wind up defeating your full replacement coverage, leaving you on the hook for a substantial amount of the cost to rebuild.

The best thing to do is read your policy before a fire happens. If it’s unintelligible, visit a licensed insurance broker for a translation.

For a map of the fire and flood dangers on the South Coast of Santa Barbara, the county has a very informative map available by clicking here.

Fire safety information can be found at the State of California website by clicking here or the Santa Barbara County Fire Department website by clicking here.

Be safe!

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at [email protected] or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >