Since the 2003 Cedar Fire, homeowners insurance in Scripps Ranch has been a challenge and that is an understatement! As part of the Cedar Fire recovery effort Project Phoenix, the fire recovery has naturally evolved into assisting homeowners retain or acquire homeowners insurance policies. Due to many factors insurance companies are either not renewing policies or writing new policies. This has come a boiling point in 2022 and continues through today with potential improvement in the next two to three years. Since 2012, the State of California has passed legislation effecting the ability to have homeowners insurance. Two pieces of legislation AB 38 (California Civil Code 1102.19(a)) and AB 3074 are requiring real property owners in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) to comply with disclosures and physical changes to your property. 98% of Scripps Ranch is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. AB 38 pertains to sale/purchase disclosures and AB 3074 is new defensible space called Zone Zero.

The purpose of the Project Phoenix webpage is to provide you background, history and resources so that you can be well informed to make decisions about homeowners insurance.

What is the SRCA Project Phoenix doing about Zone Zero and insurance requirements?

We will:

  • Continue monitoring changes by the State of California Department of Insurance, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), and City of San Diego
  • Work with Scripps Ranch Planning Group, Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee, Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council, individual homeowners associations, individual property owners, San Diego Fire Rescue Department, City of San Diego Park Department, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), Office of State Fire Marshal, Department of Insurance, University of CA – South Coast Research and Extension Center, Master Gardeners of San Diego, State Assembly Marie Waldron, State Senator Brian Jones, and San Diego Association of Realtors
  • Educate the community about implementation of Zone Zero and how to adapt to the regulations and/or insurance requirements. We have hosted four Zone Zero presentations as of May 2024. Next scheduled presentation June 20, 2024.
  • Advocate for insurance issue resolutions, reforms, and competition
  • Apply for Firewise Community approval in conjunction with Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council
  • Recommend IBHS Wildfire Prepared Home Base Designation or Wildfire Prepared Home Plus Designation certification
  • Create a preferred vendor-contractor list for residents
  • Pursue second fire station in 92131 – Station 37A
  • The SRCA is the only town council in the County of San Diego with dedicated email for homeowners insurance and webpage regarding homeowners insurance. If you have questions, concerns or solutions please email us at [email protected]

*Disclaimer – Any and all Information provided is subject to change without notice

Statutes and Regulations:

AB 38 Statue: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB38

AB 38 – DEFENSIBLE SPACE INSPECTIONS

As of July 1, 2021, California Assembly Bill 38 states that the seller of a residential property located in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) by Cal Fire and SDFD must submit documentation of compliance with locally adopted defensible space requirements prior to the close of escrow. With AB 38, if documentation showing compliance cannot be obtained by the close of escrow, the seller and buyer can enter into a written agreement showing that the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year of closing escrow.

As of July 1, 2025, require the disclosure notice to also include the State Fire Marshal’s list of low-cost retrofits. The bill would also require a seller who has obtained a specified final inspection report to provide to the buyer a copy of that report or information on where a copy may be obtained. As of May 3, 2024, there is no response from State Fire Marshall to SRCA request for the list of low-cost retrofits.

With AB 38, if documentation showing compliance cannot be obtained by the close of escrow, the seller and buyer can enter into a written agreement showing that the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year of closing escrow.

AB 3074 Statute: https://pluralpolicy.com/app/legislative-tracking/bill/details/state-ca-20192020-ab3074/456758

Establishes an “ember-resistant zone” within five feet of a structure located Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ), that considers the elimination of vegetation and non-organic fuel materials that would likely be ignited by embers (ie Zone 0) effective 01/01/21.

Exactly what that means for the homeowner will continue to depend in part on the property. It doesn’t necessarily mean one has to pour a circle of cement! The law was drafted that the modification should take into account the flammability of the structure as affected by building material, building standards, location, and type of vegetation. Fuels shall be maintained in a condition so that a wildfire burning under average weather conditions would be unlikely to ignite the structure.

As before, violation of these provisions will be considered a crime, though the law mentions that such enforcement should be pursued only as a last resort. The law requires SDFD to provide reasonable notice before enforcement. When and how notice will be given to be determined. Insurance companies are beginning to require AB 3074 compliance in advance of the state regulation being implemented.

AB 3074 would require, on or before January 1, 2023, the state board, in consultation with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, to update the guidance document to include suggestions for creating an ember-resistant zone within 5 feet of a structure.

In writing July 28, 2023, Raquel Elias, Code Compliance Supervisor, City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Community Risk Reduction Division Wildland Management & Enforcement Section stated the implementation is for only new construction at this time.

As of March 7, 2024, the guidance document is undergoing administrative review. Expected release is early 2024 per Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Fire Protection – Thomas Shoots, Fire Captain-Community Risk Reduction. AB 3074 should apply to new construction in 2025 and existing structures 2026.

Note: Should apply to Renzulli Estate Development pending development approval and very possibly Sudberry Development The Watermark issuance of the pending building permit approval.

Maps and Web Camera Links:

City of San Diego Very High Fire Severity Zone Map, FAQ and State Code Mandate:   https://www.sandiego.gov/fire/services/brush/severityzones

City of San Diego Brush Management Regulations (San Diego Municipal Code SDMC 142.0412):  https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/fire/pdf/brushpdf.pdf

City of San Diego Maintenance Assessment District – Scripps Miramar Ranch:  https://www.scrippsranch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Scripps_Ranch_MAD_8x11_Revised_102908.pdf

City of San Diego Mainenance Assessment District – Miramar Ranch North:  https://www.scrippsranch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/miramar_ranch_north_mad_11_x_17_050409.pdf

City of San Diego Maintenance Assessment District – Rancho Encantata – Stonebridge Estates:  https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/mad24ranchoencantadastonebridgeestates.pdf

Scripps Ranch Evacuation Map:  https://www.scrippsranch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/SRCA_Evacuation_Map.jpg

ALERTCalifornia cameras can be viewed by the public 24 hours a day at http://www.ALERTCalifornia.org

High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network Cameras (HPWREN) https://www.hpwren.ucsd.edu/

Articles, Reports, Videos and Media Links:

Contra Costa Bar Association article regarding possible non-compliance penalties and legal consequences under AB3074:  https://www.cccba.org/article/ever-changing-fire-hardening-laws/

Fire Ember Production from Wildland and Structural Fuels Final Report (2019) by www.FireScience.org:  https://www.firescience.gov/projects/15-1-04-4/project/15-1-04-4_final_report.pdf

Pathways for Building Fire Spread at the Wildland Urban Interface by The Fire Protection Resource Foundation (2015):  https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Emergency-responders/RFPathwaysForBuildingFireSpreadWUI.ashx

Safer from Wildfires https://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/200-wrr/Safer-from-Wildfires.cfm
Wildfire Prepared Home Certification – A Program of IBHS  https://wildfireprepared.org/wildfire-prepared-home-overview/

City of San Diego Fire Rescue AB 38 Defensible Space Inspection (DSI) compliance for selling a home https://www.sandiego.gov/fire/services/ab38
State Farm 20% rate increase article 12/27/23 https://share.newsbreak.com/5rhnwjri

CAL FIRE incidents and updates are available at http://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents

Sonoma Fire District Zone Zero Explainer Video:  https://youtu.be/ZMaK3GHv8nw

Hartford not writing new policies 01/24/24 https://share.newsbreak.com/5zejre35

American National leaving California 03/09/24  https://florencenewsjournal.com/insurance-market-meltdown-gov-newsom-remains-silent-as-texas-based-company-leaves-california/

Fox News re State Farm crisis 03/24/24  https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/california-insurance-commissioner-declares-crisis-major-state-farm-announcement

Insurance Commissioner response to State Farm not renewing 72,000 policies  https://share.newsbreak.com/6gy6674o

HARVEY ROSENFIELD op ed Sept 2023 Prop 103 – https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-09-05/home-property-insurance-bailout-legislature-gavin-newsom-wildfires-california

Dept of Ins Sustainable Insurance Strategy (2024) https://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/180-climate-change/SustainableInsuranceStrategy.cfm

The Malibu Times March 23, 2023 Beginning in 2024, no flammable materials allowed 5 feet of any structure • The Malibu Times

Corelogic September 18, 2023  Wildfire Mitigation Is a Risk Management Strategy That Begins at Ground Zero

Ramona Sentinel January 16, 2024 article regarding ALERTCalifornia webcamera technology  One of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2023 has Ramona origins

SRCA Project Phoenix 20th Anniversary of Cedar Fire Presentation (10/26/23): https://www.scrippsranch.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/SRCA-SRFSC-20th-Anniversary-Cedar-Fire-v2.pdf

State of California Senator Brian Jones letter to California Insurance Commissioner dated August 2023: https://www.scrippsranch.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/State-Senator-Jones-Letter-to-Insurance-Commissioner-August-2023.pdf

National Fire Protection Association Wildland Urban Interface Report:  https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/WUI/RFWUI-NITY2.pdf

KTLA article April 27, 2024 “Allstate says it will insure California homes again, under one condition”  https://www.newsbreak.com/news/3417151666116-allstate-says-it-will-insure-california-homes-again-under-one-condition?_f=app_share&s=a7&pd=0CuDCJhL&hl=en_US&send_time=1714316449&actBtn=feedbackShareButton&trans_data=%7B%22platform%22%3A1%2C%22cv%22%3A%2224.16.0%22%2C%22languages%22%3A%22en%22%7D