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Home / insurance coverage

These new California bills could be affecting your insurance coverage

New legislation has been ushered in for Californians this year. From property development to traffic regulations, some of the new laws may affect how California residents get around their neighborhood and what those neighborhoods might look like in the near future.

“California homeowners and drivers should be aware of the new laws that are already in effect for 2022,” said Adam Bakonis, Mercury Insurance Product Manager. “Your insurance coverages may need to be adjusted to protect your family and property. Mercury is always keeping a watchful eye out to better protect its customers.”

These signed bills Californians should be aware of now and how they could affect their insurance coverage:

  • Senate Bill 9: Known as the “duplex bill,” allows a second dwelling unit to be built on an existing single-family lot or a subdivision of an existing single-family lot to be turned into two separate lots where up to two housing units can be built on each lot. As a result, a lot with one single-family unit today could be split into two lots with a total of four housing units with limited opposition by local officials. Homeowners would still need to obtain permits, but officials would generally have to allow property owners in certain California communities the opportunity to build more than one unit on what was once considered a single-family lot. However, homeowners who choose to build more than one unit on their property will need to change their homeowners’ insurance policy.”If a lot is split, homeowners may need individual policies for each lot to address the specific needs pertaining to it and the separate buildings on each lot,” said Bakonis. “In some scenarios, homeowners may be able to bundle policies with the same carrier, which may give them a discount on premiums. Policyholders should speak to their insurance agent before beginning any construction in order to assess what coverage is appropriate.”Homeowners that choose not to split their lot, but to build an additional home on their property and use it for rental income may need to amend their homeowners’ policy or they may need a separate landlord policy depending on the circumstances.”
  • Traffic Safety Bill AB47: While this law took effect on July 1, 2021, it’s important to note that it will put points on a driver’s record for those caught violating the hands-free driving law for a second time in 36 months. The law is meant to prevent talking or texting with a phone in your hands while driving. The best way for drivers to keep their premiums low is to keep distractions at bay and not use a smart phone or any device that is going to take their attention away from the road while driving,” said Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Claims at Mercury Insurance.  
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