Senator Dodd’s Wildfire Insurance Bill Approved by Senate

A bill from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that will help wildfire victims recover losses from insurance companies was approved Tuesday by the full Senate over intense industry lobbying.

“Tragic and destructive wildfires over the past few years have revealed shortcomings in the law that have allowed insurance companies to take advantage of people,” Senator Dodd said. “This bill will put an end to the abuses, providing needed relief for victims struggling desperately to put their lives back together.”

Senate Bill 894 guarantees up to three years of coverage for living expenses for victims of declared disasters, such as the October wildfires. It also ensures that insurance companies provide victims with policy renewals for at least two years. And it requires companies to report to the Insurance Commissioner if they decline to renew a policy.

The bill was amended from its initial introduction with input from opponents. The bill allows disaster victims to combine claims for destroyed contents and accessory structures and use those funds to rebuild their home if it is underinsured.

“This will help to give individuals some flexibility in the wake of a disaster when rebuilding costs can soar,” Dodd said.

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