State Farm, Allstate withdraw from California markets

Two of the state’s biggest insurers announce they will no longer sell personal property protection in California, which could spell trouble for some Tulare County homeowners

TULARE COUNTY – State Farm and Allstate, two of California’s biggest insurers, announced they’ll no longer provide personal property protection. As some of Tulare’s suburbs lay in high fire hazard zones, this could largely impact the people of the county.

On May 27, State Farm announced on their website that they would no longer accept new applications for personal property coverage in the state of California. A week after State Farm’s statements, Allstate announced they would be doing the same.

“We paused new homeowners, condo and commercial insurance policies in California last year so we can continue to protect current customers,” the Allstate statement said.

As reported by various news outlet sources in and out of the state, both agencies have indicated that California is simply too risky to insure given its affinity for disasters. Of Tulare County’s five districts, two encompass high fire hazard zones. Both districts 4 and 5, which act as homes to suburbs such as Three Rivers, Woodlake and Porterville, expand eastward into Sequoia National Park.

Kevin Riggi, division chief of Tulare County’s fire department, suggests that whether or not residents have insurance, they should remain where they are. However, he noted that residents should stay vigilant as the summer progresses.

“I would tell our constituents to make sure they’re checking all resources,” Riggi said. “I believe there are programs out there for our mountain communities to get insurance.”

Riggi continued by recommending that all mountain residents set up defensible spaces around their homes as well as sign up for Tulare County’s Alert TC, a mass notification system designed to keep Tulare County residents and businesses alike informed of emergencies and other time-sensitive messages.

“The Cal Fire and state fire marshals have a considerable amount of guides for the public to use to make sure they have defensible space around their structures,” Riggi said. “You know, things like 100 foot clearances.

As for Alert TC, Riggi says it’s the best way for residents to stay up to date.

“That’s how Tulare county notifies our people of when it’s time to possibly leave, evacuate or what kind of notice they need,” he said. “Everyone calls it the reverse 911.”

When asked if this summer was looking particularly bad for fires, Riggi simply stated that it’s going to be hot and dry, just like California always is.

According to the National Parks Service, five massive forest fires tore across Sequoia from 2015-2021, lighting ablaze the Sierra Nevada mountain range. While there have only been a few small fires along Sierras this year, the wet winter and upcoming fourth of July celebrations may increase that number in the coming weeks.

The future isn’t bleak for personal property protection, however, as many California representatives are fighting to ensure home protection for the state’s residents. One such representative is Ricardo Lara, California’s 8th Insurance Commissioner.

According to the California Department of Insurance, Commissioner Lara “wrote the nation’s first climate insurance law, SB (Senate Bill) 30, to engage the insurance industry in the fight against climate-linked environmental disasters like wildfires.”

While both insurance companies have made statements saying they made the decision in order to better assist their current customers, it leaves unprotected homeowners without many options. Still, Tulare County is home to other insurance agencies who still offer homeowner protection, such as Farmers Insurance, which is located just south of the Tulare Outlets shopping center.

Protections or no, Tulereans — especially those who live in districts 4 and 5 — can take action by remaining vigilant and ensuring that they keep their homes insured with one of the county’s remaining agencies.

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