Homeowners in wildfire-prone areas of California and other Western states now have yet another worry: Insurers have issued an ominous warning that they could be facing a “wildfire deductible” in coming years or, even worse, the prospect of having their home insurance canceled altogether.
The surprising scenario came in part from Aon, the largest insurance broker in the U.S., where meteorologist Steve Bowen pointed out that fire losses have exceeded $10 billion for the second year running. In California, the Camp Fire alone has killed 86 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 20,000 homes.
House fires of almost any kind have traditionally been covered under home insurance policies — no questions asked. But “risks that were once insurable … will become uninsurable,” said Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice. “Insurers have long excluded wind in coastal states and earthquake and flood everywhere from homeowners’ policies.”