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San Diego Explained: How Fire Insurance Coverage Is Changing

Bigger, more destructive wildfires across California show no sign of slowing down any time soon, and insurance companies are becoming pickier about which homeowners they’ll protect [1].

When insurers deny coverage or raise prices in areas at risk of wildfire, they’re often relying on secret formulas designed to predict what homes are likely to burn [2]. The most popular wildfire risk model, known as Fireline, uses a 0 to 30 scale, with a score of 30 assigned to the very riskiest homes. Several researchers say the insurance industry’s models don’t use all available fire science.

On this week’s San Diego Explained, Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia go through the different factors that determine whether an insurance company will cover a home in a wildfire risk area.