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Chula Vista homeowner hit with 'insane' insurance premium hike

Chula Vista homeowner hit with 'insane' insurance premium hike
Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-31 18:56:49-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Chula Vista homeowner couldn’t believe her eyes when she opened the renewal email for her homeowner's insurance.

That email forced Debra Conte to do a double-take.

“I was looking at the number but was not believing that was the number. I thought there was some type of typo,” said Conte.

Conte and her spouse bought their new home in the Rolling Hills Ranch II community in 2009.

In recent years, dealing with her homeowner's insurance has become a nightmare.

“We've been dropped five times in the last five years … When renewal comes up, I’m afraid to look at the email, because I already know what's going to happen,” said Conte.

But even Conte wasn't prepared for this.

Her premium with Farmers Insurance went from just under $5,000 to more than $21,500.

“I didn't expect an almost 500% increase, which is insane," said Conte.

Her insurance agent gave her an explanation.

“Underwriters really just revamped the zip codes in our area. Some got higher rates, and some didn’t,” said Conte.

Conte says that makes no sense, with no recent wildfires in the area, no claims on her part, and many HOA rules aimed at overgrowth and fire safety.

In each room of her home, and in all the homes of the gated community, there are sprinklers. On the side of the homes are fire alarms.

In the email, the reasons given for the price hike were inflation, construction costs, and $140 billion spent on natural disasters.

On Monday, Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance laid off some 2,400 people, 11% of its workforce.

Other major insurers have hit pause on new policies in California.

As for Conte, she's just beginning the daunting task of finding another carrier and a reasonable premium.

“There are some options, not a lot of options,” said Conte. “Very frustrating to live here; living costs are a killer. I feel like I’m getting gouged.”

Conte remains optimistic because her neighbors have premiums from various carriers comparable to her previous one.

Meanwhile, while Farmers hasn't paused new policies, they announced in July they won't be writing more policies to fill the void left by the other insurers.