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Alta Vista Insurance Agency

1020 S Santa Fe Ave, Suite K
Vista, CA 92084

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New Requirements For California Commercial Property Investors

As a commercial property owner, you want to make sure that your most valuable real estate assets in your portfolio are properly protected. But you also want to make sure that you’re complying with all of your insurance companies guidelines and maintaining your buildings so you can prevent future losses.


The California insurance marketplace has been experiencing unprecedent turmoil over the past few years. California insurance companies have suffered major losses over the last 5 years resulting in billions of dollars in damage due to the catastrophic wildfires and major water losses.


It’s caused many insurance companies to change their underwriting guidelines, increase their rates, no longer accept business in certain locations in the state, and go out of business. We call this a hard market in the insurance industry, and it could last for several years.


One of the best ways to prevent future losses and stay in compliance with your insurance company is to follow specific guidelines when maintaining your property which also mitigates future losses.
We’ve gathered research with our top insurance companies to find out what the mandatory requirements are for commercial buildings in California and we’re going to share these tips with you so you can stay out of harm’s way and help prevent any future losses.


As a commercial real estate investor, the last thing you want is an insurance company to decide they no longer want to insure your building due to failing to meet the mandatory requirements, not providing proof of updates to your building, or being out of compliance with certain maintenance issues. If you receive documentation or a renewal questionnaire from your insurance company, return the information to them immediately. You can also give us a call or schedule an appointment with us, and we can review the possible exposures to your building.
Here are some of the new mandatory requirements for commercial buildings in California.

  • Older buildings, built before 1990, may require data and documentation of upgrades to the electrical, plumbing, roofs, and heating.
  • If your building has Zinsco or Federal Pacific electrical panels and breakers, they need to be replaced. They are old and outdated and have been found to have a defective design that is prone to over-current and arcing, and do not meet underwriting standards anymore. Zinsco panels and breakers are no longer in production and replacement parts have been proven to be unreliable. The panels present an unacceptable life safety and fire hazard. Unfortunately, replacement of these panels is required with most insurance companies.
  • Installation of GFCI (ground gault circuit interrupter) receptacles must be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, garages, and on outdoor receptacles. As an alternative GFCI breakers can be installed in the electrical panels to provide protection for these circuits. Remember to consult an electrician to inspection the system and perform repairs that meet the local electrical codes.
  • Swimming pools need to be fenced and gated with self-locking gates. Gates should automatically close, latch and lock when released. Also, the handle and hardware must be ADA compliant. It must be of a proper height and have a handle on both sides of the gate. No round knobs should be installed.
  • Fire extinguishers in the building must be fully charged and in good condition. A fire extinguisher maintenance company must service and inspect all fire extinguishers on the property on an annual basis and the service tag should be attached to each unit. Also, there should be no cracked, broken, or missing glass in the fire extinguisher cases.
  • Railings need to be no less than 42” which is the minimum standard or the current building codes in CA. In the past five inch spacing was allowed, but no longer. Call us if you have questions about this. Make sure that all vertical railings on balconies and stairways are a minimum of 42”.
  • It’s recommended but not required to prevent water damage the pressure relief valves on the hot water heaters need to be plumbed so they water can exit the building. You can also install drain pains and pressure relief valves plumbed into the pans.

These are some of the new mandatory requirements insurance companies have implemented in California for placing new insurance business and at renewal of a commercial property insurance policy. Many insurers of commercial property in California are sending out renewal questionnaires and reinspecting buildings to make sure commercial property owners are complying with these new requirements. If they identify the building needs repairs, updates, or maintenance they will require the property owner to make the necessary changes to the building to continue coverage or place new business.

As a commercial property specialist, we want to make you are educated on these changes and you have the proper protection for your commercial real estate portfolio. If you have questions or need additional information, click the link below to schedule an appointment with one of our commercial agents.

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Is it time to upgrade the property insurance policy protecting your local business?

Business owners in Vista, CA can turn to the team at Alta Vista Insurance Agency. We have the experience necessary to help our commercial clients protect their businesses. Contact our team today and set up a time to learn more about our services. 

Is it time for an upgrade to your property insurance?

When it comes to property insurance, it can be difficult to tell exactly how much you need. As a business grows and becomes more established and successful, its insurance needs also increase. Protecting a business through a robust property insurance policy is an effective way to gain the coverage you need.

Upgrading a property insurance policy is usually necessary every few years. As more equipment is purchased, inventory levels increase, or there is more liability risk, the need for an increased amount of coverage becomes apparent. There’s no good reason to procrastinate when it comes to giving your property coverage a boost.

Now is an ideal time to make any necessary changes to your property insurance policy. Sit down with a trusted insurance expert and learn more about your current coverage, identify any gaps, and decide if it’s time to upgrade your policy. It can be surprising to learn how many business owners are unsure of their exact property insurance policy and exactly what coverage it provides. If it’s time for a property insurance upgrade, there’s no reason to wait.  

We look forward to working with you

Alta Vista Insurance Agency is here for business owners in Vista, CA and the surrounding area. If you have questions about property insurance, we are here to answer them. Contact our office today to set up a time to talk about all of your commercial insurance needs. 

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Why Having Renters Insurance Is Important

Is renters insurance coverage necessary? This is a question that we get a lot here at Alta Vista Insurance Agency in Vista, CA. After all, if this is not your property, shouldn’t it be the landlord’s responsibility to protect it? But our answer will always remain a resounding yes!

Here’s why renters need to purchase this type of coverage:

Protects Your Personal Belongings

Take a look at all the items you have in your home. If disaster was to strike, how would you replace your electronics, furniture, appliances, and clothes? No one predicts things like fire or theft, yet they happen. Purchasing renters insurance allows you to protect all these items because you’re covered should you be exposed to risks.

Your Landlord Insurance Doesn’t Cover You

Most tenants assume their landlords’ insurance coverage extends to them, but that’s not true. The landlord’s policy is specifically for the structure itself. If the common area or fence is damaged in an accident, your landlord’s policy will cover that. But how about your personal items? Those are your responsibility, and you need coverage for that.

Protects you Against Liability Claims

If a visitor gets hurt in your home, you are required to cover their medical bills. And if they sue you, you will have no option but to pay the following legal fees. Renters insurance takes this burden from you through liability coverage. If someone gets injured on your premises, the policy will cover the resulting expenses up to your liability limit.

Coverage for Additional Living Expenses

At times, the damage to your home can be so bad that you have to move out as the house is repaired. In such cases, your policy will cover expenses like accommodation, transport, and food.

Get Renters Insurance Today

As you can see, renters insurance is necessary to protect your assets and peace of mind. If you’re renting in the greater Vista, CA community, get in touch with Alta Vista Insurance Agency and get started on important insurance coverage.

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National Insurance Industry Council – Spirit of Life Honoree – City of Hope Gala 2022

City of Hope Gala – Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Paul Patterson along with Sandi Grigg from The Hartford Insurance invited my wife and I from Alta Vista Insurance along with our friends Brandon and Justina Strausbaugh from Pauma Valley Insurance to the 2022 City of Hope Gala.

National Insurance Industry Council | Spirit of Life Honoree | City of Hope

The Spirit of Life® Award is City of Hope’s most prestigious honor, presented to an esteemed community of industry leaders around the world who have made a significant commitment to support those in need. Honorees are selected for their notable contributions to the community in which they live and the profession in which they work. This year, the National Insurance Industry Council (NIIC) honors Joel Cavaness, President, Risk Placement Services.

We were able to “Rise our paddle” for Lung Cancer Research performed at City of Hope and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Truly a special evening, for a very special cause.

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Feeding School kids with the Food Bank North County Vista Branch!

We are back at it again!

Breaking the Rules! Beth Walls, Sandi Grigg, Vira Rodriguez, Jim Owen, Holly Bishop and Raymond Lowder fill over 500 meal bags! Recorded by Morgan Hege

Last Friday, September 9th, 2022 we shut down the office early at noon to go help our community by volunteering at the North County San Diego Food Bank again! We had a ton of fun back in June helping put together meals for those with food insecurity here in Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, that we decided to come back for round 2 and put together over 500 meals for students at risk from Valley Elementary in Poway and Cesar Chavez from San Diego Unified.

How was it George? He was perspiring, or as Geo likes to say; “perspering” The whole team with Vira Rodriguez, commercial lines account manager, Sandi GriggThe Hartford Insurance, and George Francis all were “perspiring” after assembling more than 500 meals for youth in our community. Holly Bishop didn’t want to be on camera! But here are are few video clips from our adventure!

Also, we got Natalie, our Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator to smile “ear to ear” in her own words with all the work we did to help feed our community in North San Diego County Food Bank! The schools we Valley Elementary in Poway, and Cesar Chavez for San Diego Unified School District. 300 and change, and we did two orders of 500 each (so 1,000 meals to food insecure kid-o’s here in our community) Watch the clip here.

Thank you to everyone that came out for the event. We will do something else fun and of service some time late in 2022. Until then, stay safe, stay well, and have a great fall season!

Pacific Plastics was also on scene to serve! We were excited to give back to the community with them too. If you need injection molding here in Vista, they are your ticket! Fun folks, that know how to work the line!

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ServPro of North Vista/San Marcos To The Rescue!

We wanted to give a big shout out to Servpro of North Vista/San Marcos for helping out one of our local elementary schools right here in Vista, CA.

Over the weekend there was a shed that was broken into and vandalized at T.H.E Leadership Academy, AKA Temple Heights Elementary. Luckily nothing was stolen but there was damage to the shed. The school was having a hard time trying to get the repairs completed so, we called up one of our clients, Servpro of North Vista/San Marcos to help out! They sent a team over to Temple Heights Elementary School and they repaired the shed at no cost to the school.

We love these types of success stories especially when our clients make a large impact in our community right here in Vista, CA. The students, teachers, and staff are so grateful for lending a hand. Thank you ServPro!

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How Umbrella Insurance Works

Umbrella insurance is a unique type of coverage that works along with other types of insurance to boost those policies. When you already have home and auto insurance, it’s helpful to also have an umbrella policy to make those policies stronger when it comes to liability insurance. When you want to be well-covered by your home and auto insurance, it’s smart to get an umbrella policy to increase your coverage.

Safeco Personal Umbrella Coverage

When you are interested in getting an umbrella insurance policy, give us a call at Alta Vista Insurance Agency in Vista, CA.

Boost Your Liability Coverage

Once you already have home and auto insurance, you may not have as much liability coverage as you think. Often, these policies come with little liability protection, and that’s where umbrella policies come in. Adding more liability coverage to both your home and auto policies can be highly expensive. It can prohibit many people from getting the coverage they need. But with umbrella insurance, you can do the same thing at a much lower cost. This insurance adds more liability coverage that you need to pay for expensive medical bills after an accident. 

Paying the Overage

When an accident happens that you are liable for, your auto or home policy will step in to pay as much as it can toward the medical bills and other expenses that you owe for the other person’s injuries. However, it will meet its limit and stop paying. If it stops paying while there are still more bills to pay, you will be responsible for that overage. When you have umbrella insurance, it will pay that overage to protect you financially. 

Get Your Umbrella Policy

If you want to be better protected against liability, talk to an agent about umbrella insurance. Call us at 1-888-724-2124 for a quote from Alta Vista Insurance Agency in Vista, CA.

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Brunch with The Hartford at Beach Break Café

We were excited to take a little trip to Beach Break Cafe Where we had lunch with Sandi Grigg, our carrier partner representative from The Hartford Insurance. We met to break bread and discuss business!

The food is really good at Beach Break Cafe. The coffee cake is home made, and really a special treat, I highly recommend it with any breakfast or lunch menu item, or just with a good cup of coffee. The portions are too big, even for me. I’m 6’5″ and 280 pounds!

For breakfast, if you like mexican food, I like the Huevos Rancheros with corn tortillias or the Chili Verde burrito (with extra verde sauce on the side!) and you won’t be disappointed with true Cali-mex style San Diego beach food.

The Hartford insures restaurants like Beach Break, and has competitive rates for workers compensation, general liability (slip and fall), and commercial property for your businesses building.

Gary and Zell started Beach Break Cafe as a great local go to spot after surfing, fire fighting, or just a great place to meet with your friends and family down by the beach. The Beach Break is now in the 2nd generation of family ownership!

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Back in the day…

Back in the day, while taking an auto insurance application by phone, I asked a client if his wife was employed? He said no, and she said, ” YES I AM!” (this is dating myself, it was back when Roseanne Barr was doing her stand up.) The wife says, “I’m a DOMESTIC GODDESS!” We all laughed, and then she said. “Put that on the application.” So I did, marked her as employed, and moved on. I really didn’t think twice about it.

A few days later, an underwriting associate at the firm I was with came over to my section, and with their boss, and my boss, and my bosses boss and they kept looking at me while I was on another sales call. Finally my boss came over, and said to not take another call. Needless to say, I finished the call sweating bullets, wondering what could have happened that 1/2 the management team was in my section waiting for me?!

Turns out “Domestic Goddess” is not a job, and cannot go onto an auto insurance application.  Who knew?

EDIT: This was decades before Roseanne Barr was cancelled from ABC for being a racist.

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Why You Need Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is an important type of coverage that everyone should have. It’s a unique type of insurance that many people don’t think about getting. However, it’s a vital type of protection that you should have for your home. If you don’t have flood insurance, call us today at Alta Vista Insurance Agency in Vista, CA.

Home Insurance and Floods

Floods can be caused by a number of different things, and many of these types of floods are not covered by home insurance. If you don’t have flood insurance, that means that you will pay for all of the damage that is done by the flooding. This can be an extreme amount of damage that may be prohibitively expensive to pay for. Flood insurance can pay for that damage as well as any rebuilding that needs to happen after a flood. 

Why Everyone Needs Flood Insurance

 It’s common for people to not be interested in getting flood insurance if they don’t live in an area that is a high-risk flood area. These areas are generally near water and have a history of flooding. The problem is that among flood claims, about 20% are from areas that aren’t one of these high-risk areas. Without flood insurance, those homeowners would have to pay for all of the damage by themselves. The National Flood Insurance Program has recommended that everyone should have flood insurance. 

Pricing for Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is sponsored by the government through the National Flood Insurance Program. The program backs these policies and sets the pricing. That means that no matter where you get your flood insurance, the cost is always the same. This is helpful to people who don’t want to have to shop around for the best price on a flood policy. 

Get Your Home Covered Against Floods

When you need flood insurance, call us at Alta Vista Insurance Agency in Vista, CA.

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