California Department of Insurance addresses rising homeowners insurance prices

Kiyoma Yoshizumi, an insurance broker in San Diego, says his company has been swamped with phone calls from potential clients for weeks now. Thousands of San Diego County homeowners are seeing their house insurance rates increase.

“We are getting about 2-5 new phone calls a day from new clients, basically saying my premium went up 3-5 times last year can you find me anything better or I am being non-renewed by my current insurance company,” Yoshizumi said Heather Myers, a reporter for CBS 8.

Why are insurance costs increasing in San Diego?

In early January, CBS 8’s Steve Price chatted with viewer Tony Obregon. Obregon contacted us to report that his Farmers Insurance payment for coverage on his 2-bedroom Mission Valley condo had increased from $383 per year to much over $2,100.

“With the cost of everything rising, and then on top of that the insurance premiums doubling, tripling, quadrupling, it’s too much for people,” Obregon said.

According to Kiyoma Yoshizumi, one of the reasons homeowners’ premiums have increased dramatically is their updated wildfire mitigation score. He claims that insurance firms employ a mapping tool to assign a score to each residence ranging from .1 to 100.

California Department of Insurance addresses rising homeowners insurance prices

.1 indicates that a wildfire is extremely unlikely to burn through the area, and that all mitigation measures have been implemented. A score of 100 indicates that a wildfire is extremely likely to damage the home.

“Insurance companies utilize what are known as fire maps. These were recently modified in 2023, and practically every single property with this brush score improved,” Yoshizumi stated.

CBS 8 contacted California’s Department of Insurance. The agency did not respond to our request for an on-camera interview, but did issue a statement that said, in part:

“While rate changes have been approved under the auspices of proposition 103, Californians continue to pay less, on average, than other states for home and auto insurance.”

The statement went on to say that homeowners who take proactive efforts to protect their houses from wildfires will receive the “first in the nation” mandated insurance reductions. The department’s website addresses this on the “Safer from Wildfires” page, which lists ten steps, including modifications to your roof, eaves, windows, and defensible space plan, among other things.

What the website does not say is how to get the discount after these steps are performed.

According to Yoshizumi, insurance firms will also need to be informed of this strategy.

“I don’t think the discounts have hit the market yet, because these insurance companies are still looking for their premium rate increases and also having to adjust their policies in order to meet these requirements that the Department of Insurance has put forward,” Yoshizumi said in a statement.

Yoshizumi claims he has had a lot of luck shopping rates for his customers with several insurance carriers and finding reduced rates. He encourages his consumers to be aware of insurance firms that offer a discount by decreasing their coverage.

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