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The Home Insurance Landscape in the San Francisco Bay Area is changing dramatically. In some areas - such as Marin County, finding good home insurance is becoming as difficult as finding a suitable home.
The typical Preferred carriers are offering up less and less insurance policies in this area, more consumers are being forced to work with Non Admitted Insurers and the California Fair Plan.
This slideshare reviews the current California Insurance Landscape along with the particulars of Marin County California.
Lastly we review a quick few ideas to assist consumers in finding the best home insurance option.
Why is getting home insurance so difficult in Marin County?
Why is Getting Home Insurance
so Difficult in Marin County?
Scott W Johnson/ 0H11625
2019: In the last six
months I have
received hundreds of
requests for help from
people that cannot
find home insurance.
A California Insurance Update: 2019 Insurance
Update for California:
• California has lots of admitted home insurers, Its
the largest home insurance market in the country.
• Contrary to what you might think, our home
insurance premiums, on average are not that high
relative to numerous other states.
• But - Home prices in California are higher than in
most the country.
• Generally speaking California is not threatened by
Hurricanes. But we are threatened by Floods,
Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Landslides, and of course
• Wildfires are currently the largest single issue, in my
opinion for insureds, seeking to buy a new home
A California Insurance Update Cont: 2019
Insurance Update for California:
• Merced Property & Casualty, went out of
business following the 2018
wildfires. According the LA Times: The "insurer
had assets of about $23 million, but (was)
expected it might have to pay out as much as
$64 million in claims for properties in
Paradise." The company was taken over the
California Department of Insurance.
• In my opinion, most home insurers that I work
with are tightening up their underwriting
standards. This can include limiting the
wildfire zones that a given insurer accepts, not
taking homes on dead end streets, requiring
more safety devices, etc.
Background on Marin County:
• Expensive Home
• Many homes located in and near flood zones
• Many homes located in Wildfire zones
• People with multiple homes
• Clients who rent out their home, part time, through the
likes of Air BnB
• People with Complex forms of Ownership of the home
• It is worth pointing out (again)that Homes are
expensive in this county. Especially when viewed from
a cost per square foot for single family
dwellings. Although a million dollars in the East Coast
can certainly be spent, often those single family
dwellings are 3000 feet. In Marin county that is often a
million dollars might get you 1200 sq fixer with no
Status of Home Insurance in Marin County:
• Numerous Name Brand Captive Agency Insurance
Companies will take write almost no new
insurance in parts of Marin.
• It is important to note here that there is a distinct
difference between existing homeowners with
existing insurance vs the new buyers that
purchase that same home. Just because State
Farm wrote the home for the Old Owners, does
not mean that they will write it for the New
• Most Name Brand Captive Agency Insurance
Companies will no longer accept new policies in
Tiburon, Mill Valley, Sausalito, and West
Marin. This area seems to be growing though…
• Alternative forms of homeowners insurance are
Wildfires in Marin:
• Marin County has not seen a truly large wildfire in a
• The last notable wildfire in Marin County took place
on Angel Island in 2008.
• 45 homes and 354 acres were burned up in 1995 in
the Mount Vision Fire in 1995.
• In 1929 The Great Mill Valley Fire burned up about 117
homes. According to Fire Safe Marin that same
footprint today would constitute over 1100 homes.
• However with no wildfires, there has no been no
natural way to clean up the lumber. And Marin has a
lot of that: Redwoods, Oaks, Eucalyptus and
hundreds of others types of trees. Depending on
which resource you use the county is comprised of
upwards of 70 or 75% by public lands. This includes:
National Parks, State Parks, Local Open Spaces,
Water and Sanitation District Land. This does not
include the semi wild lands controlled by MALT and
How to Get Home Insurance in Marin County:
If you receive a notice of non renewal OR if you have trouble landing insurance with new home:
• Reach out TWO captive agency insurers. These include State Farm, Farmers, Nationwide,
Allstate, AAA, etc.
• At the same time reach out to at least ONE Independent Agency. Independents are able to
write policies with Dozens of carriers.
Four Types of Home Insurance:
• Preferred Home
• Non Standard Home
• Non Admitted Home
• The California FAIR plan
with the appropriate