How is Your Insurance Affected by Wildfire Safety?

California governor declares a state of emergency as wildfires have broken out in the San Diego area, causing thousands to evacuate including California State University campus in which students are currently in the middle of final exams. Drought conditions and dry wind continue to create a volatile situation. Nine fires in all were burning an area of more than 14 square miles as another day of sky-high temperatures and dry winds were expected Thursday, county officials said.

Wildfires is a growing threat and people don’t realize the dangers.  Homeowners need to be aware of the steps they should take to prevent wildfire and be aware of insurance parameters before moving or building in high-risk areas. Home insurance will cover the loss of damage to your home because of a wildfire but it is to take steps to maintain home against disaster. For example, if living in an area that is a wildfire risk, insurances will not pay for homes that are not fire smart.

Some insurance companies provide wildfire prevention programs so you can evaluate what needs to be done to your own property. Discounts may be available in you follow the tips to prevent destruction. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association provide the following

  • Create a 30-foot defensible space around your home by removing as much flammable material as you can. Replace flammable vegetation with fire resistive plants.
  • Reduce the number of trees in heavily wooded areas by spacing native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart. On trees taller than 18 feet, prune lower branches within six feet of the ground.
  • Remove branches overhanging the roof or coming within 10 feet of the chimney. Clean all dead leaves and needles from the roof, gutters, and yard.
  • Install a roof that meets a fire classification of “Class B” or better. Cover the chimney outlet and stovepipe with nonflammable screening no larger than half-inch mesh.
  • Install dual- or triple-paned windows, and limit the size and number of windows that face large areas of vegetation.
  • Put woodpiles and liquid propane gas tanks at least 30 feet from all structures and clear away flammable vegetation within 10 feet of those woodpiles and propane tanks.

Firewise community program from the National Fire Protection Association  offers guidelines to help protect your home from wildfires as well. It is not so much locations as many think but it is what surrounds your home and the building materials that have been used to construct your home.

Check with your insurance agent to assure that your home is protected.  Talk to them about programs that are available so that you understand what you can do to make your home safe as well as cost preventive.

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