Marcus Smith bought homeowners insurance to protect himself. But after three water damage claims in three years, his insurer dropped him. "But I've been with you for almost 40 years. They said it doesn't matter. Once you have that claim, one claim, forget it." says Marcus Smith.
California Commissioner John Garamendi calls that the "use it and lose syndrome". Garamendi wants lawmakers to pass laws supporting a homeowner's bill of rights.
Insurance companies say they're charging more because water and mold damage claims are costing millions. And they say insurers are not dropping homeowners in large numbers, or without cause. "The predictor of future losses is the number of losses that have been reported and if you have an inordinate amount of maintenance claims being made, that's a red flag." says Jerry Davies with the Personal Federation of California.
But Garamendi says insurers know much more than consumers. They get claims information from a database called CLUE which tracks and reports your property's claims history.
The insurance industry says it uses this and other sources, but does not share the information with consumers. Garamendi wants consumers to have the right to repair their CLUE report.