Tuesday, October 5, 2010

California Residential Property Bill of Rights (With Commentary)

Although the California state legislature remains thoroughly incapable of passing a budget, it has managed to get more than a few bills through to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk for his yea or nay. A few days ago, he said yea -- well, signed anyway -- a bill related to how property insurance in California is sold.

The bill, AB2022, takes effect on July first of 2011. It reads as follows... actually, it's rather dry reading material. So...

Instead, in our never-ending effort to make insurance more enjoyable for all, here is the new California Residential Property Bill of Rights. It must be given to all purchasers for residential property insurance starting July 1, 2011. Minus the, shall we say, editorial comments added:

California Residential Property Insurance Bill of Rights

A consumer is entitled to receive information regarding homeowner's insurance.

Honest, just ask us. We'll tell you what it's about!

The following is a limited overview of information that your insurance company can provide:

Note the word "limited." As opposed to "unlimited," which is often used in conjunction with "imagination." As in the unlimited imagination some people use in believing what insurance covers.

The insurance company's customer service telephone number for underwriting, rating, and claims inquiries.

Sorry, pizza delivery not included.

A written explanation for any cancellation or nonrenewal of your policy.

Please ignore the urban legend about how grounds for canceling a policy includes owning a Justin Bieber CD.

A copy of the insurance policy.

No, there isn't a coloring book version.

An explanation of how your policy limits were established.

Which, contrary to public opinion, did not involve the usage of an Ouija board.

In the event of a claim, an itemized, written scope of loss report prepared by the insurer or its adjuster within a reasonable time period.

Please note that "reasonable" does not mean five minutes after the claim is filed.

In the event of a claim, a copy of the Unfair Practices Act and, if requested, a copy of the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations.

Now there's some exciting reading material!

In the event of a claim, notification of a consumer's rights with respect to the appraisal process for resolving claims disputes.

It's a little more involved than a coin toss.

An offer of coverage and premium quote for earthquake coverage, if eligible.

Earthquakes? In California? When did that start?

A consumer is also entitled to select a licensed contractor or vendor to repair, replace, or rebuild damaged property covered by the insurance policy.

Choose... wisely.

The information provided herein is not all inclusive and does not negate or preempt existing California law. If you have any concerns or questions, contact your agent, broker, insurance company, or the California Department of Insurance consumer information line at (800) 927-HELP (4357) or at www.insurance.ca.gov for free insurance assistance.

Contact your agent first. Trust us.

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