Travelers is the latest California insurer to raise rates. How to find coverage in your area

The Travelers Insurance logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.
Travelers will update its insurance rates for more than 320,000 homeowners starting June 24.
(SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Travelers Insurance, one of California’s largest home and auto insurers, is set to increase its rates by an average of 15%, the latest in a string of rate increases and policy limitations that major insurers say is caused by wildfire risks, reinsurance costs and inflation.

Given the go-ahead by the California Department of Insurance this week, Travelers will update its rates for more than 320,000 homeowners starting June 24. It’s not immediately clear what areas in the state will see higher rates.

Michael Soller, the state Department of Insurance’s deputy commissioner for communications, said the shortage of information is “frustrating across the board.”


The department, he said, is doing its best to make sure consumers don’t pay more than they’re required. Travelers’ premium increases, he said, are completely legal under Proposition 103, the 1988 ballot measure that regulated property and casualty insurance pricing.

The average cost of homeowners insurance in the state is $1,250 per year, or about $104 per month. That’s less than the national average of $1,915, according to Nerdwallet. The average cost for a homeowner in the city of Los Angeles is $1,485 a year, or about $124 a month.

Travelers is the latest major insurer to increase rates, limit the number of new policies issued or pull out of the California market altogether — all actions that are straining the market.

In April, Tokio Marine America Insurance Co. and Trans Pacific Insurance Co. notified the insurance department that they will not renew 12,556 homeowners policies with a premium value of $11.3 million, starting July 1.

State Farm, Farmers and Allstate have limited their offerings in California by cutting back on the new policies issued or tightening underwriting standards. State Farm, for example, announced in March that it would not renew 72,000 policies. Allstate, however, has stated that once the industry-favored insurance reforms that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara proposed go into effect, it will begin writing new homeowner insurance policies in the state, Soller said.

Last year, Geico removed all its in-person offices in the state and is offering policies only through the company’s website or app.

To make insurance rates “more predictable and insurance more available” in the state, Soller said the department is continuing its progress in updating its regulations.


That update could let insurers use algorithms to predict the future risk that properties face from wildfires. Lara is proposing to let insurers use catastrophe modeling when setting the price of policies. Currently, premiums are based on an insurance company’s past losses. This is one of several proposals Lara advanced in a Sustainable Insurance Strategy announced last year.

Even though insurers are making significant changes to their coverage offerings, many are still issuing new policies in California. Here is a partial list:

Farmers Insurance Group offers limited homeowners insurance policies in California, with a monthly cap at 7,000 new business policies.

Mercury is not only offering new policies and renewing existing ones, it’s also taking on customers from Tokio Marina America and its subsidiary, Trans Pacific Insurance Co. — both agencies that pulled out of the California market.

Chubb and its subsidaries, which include Federal Insurance Co., Vigilant Insurance Co. and Pacific Indemnity Co., offer and renew home policies, but with two limitations. It stopped writing high-value homes with higher wildfire risk and isn’t renewing some high-value homes.

USAA is offering new policies if the homes meet its underwriting criteria, which confine the insurer to low-risk properties.


Other insurers that continue to renew or issue new policies in the state are Auto Club of Southern California, Liberty Mutual and American Family.

When a prospective or current homeowner is having trouble finding a policy in their area, the last resort is the California FAIR Plan Assn. A state-established program funded by insurers doing business in California, its mission is to provide homeowners with an affordable policy option when the traditional market fails them.

To find which insurers are offering policies in your area, the California Department of Insurance has a “Home Insurance Finder” tool that will help you locate a provider within 5 to 75 miles of your property.