Residents urged to update fire insurance

SAN DIEGO - California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is urging residents to update their home insurance in preparation for a major fire.

Rancho Bernardo homeowner Tony Heinrichs lost his house in the 2007 Witch Fire. He said he learned a painful lesson, but now feels better prepared in the event of another fire.

"Most people tell you they had adequate insurance. And again, we paid our insurance premium increases year after year and we trusted the insurance company to keep us advised at what the appropriate insurance should be," said Heinrichs.

More than 1,000 homes were destroyed in San Diego County during the 2007 wildfires, and 572 homes have not yet started the rebuilding process possibly due to issues with insurance claims or the current economy.

According to nonprofit group Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., nearly 90 percent of the 2007 wildfire victims were underinsured to rebuild what they had lost.

Poizner asked Californians to make changes to protect themselves.

"Don't get burned twice; update your insurance and create this home inventory today," said Poizner.

In a recent 10News poll, only 17 percent of residents have increased the amount of fire insurance coverage since the 2007 wildfires. The poll showed 77 percent kept their coverage the same.

"We know we have more insurance coverage than what we had before. We have a lot more information. We have been educated to how the insurance industry works," said Heinrichs.


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