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2020 brings changes to California's insurance laws

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Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 19:44:28-05

(KGTV) - Californians have new protections for auto, pet, health, and other insurance starting in 2020.

Starting Jan. 1, six laws took effect. Other insurance laws will change later this year, according to Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Auto Insurance

Consumers can choose a cash payment instead of repairing a damaged vehicle. The change is due to Assembly Bill 1538, authored by San Diego Assembly Member Shirley Weber.

The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program has been extended through 2025 through Senate Bill 570. The program helps provide liability coverage to new drivers in underserved communities.

RELATED: New California laws to know starting on Jan. 1, 2020

Pet Insurance

A new law creates greater transparency for consumers and streamlines communication between pet owners and their insurance carriers “so that insurers cannot hide behind confusing brand names to avoid claims or complaints,” according to Lara.

Health and Long-term Care

State law now reflects federal changes made to Medicare and Medicare Supplement Policies issued on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

Small Businesses

Senate Bill 534 extends programs that increase transparency and partnership between insurance companies and woman, minority, veteran and LGBT-owned businesses, Lara said.

Community Investments

The California Organized Investment Network (COIN) will continue. The program’s mission is to invest in underserved communities, and it encourages insurers “to be supportive of investments that promote social, economic, and environmental benefits,” according to state officials.

Changes to take effect in July:

  • Insurers will be required to locate beneficiaries of customers who have died and provide appropriate claim forms or instructions.
  • Those who live in rental units, mobile homes, and condos must be provided with a Residential Property Insurance Disclosure statement and the California Residential Property Insurance Bill of Rights Disclosure.
  • Insurers will be required to provide at least 75 days’ notice when nonrenewing a homeowners’ policy that expires on or after July 1, giving homeowners a chance to consider their options.

“We won many victories for California consumers last year, and secured more protections for homeowners, motorists, seniors, and diverse businesses,” said Lara. “I am looking forward to a new year creating additional new protections for consumers, including those affected by catastrophic wildfires. We will continue working with our partners, the Legislature, and the Governor to make a better California for all in 2020.”