Wildfire is a significant risk here is southern California, where the foothills become treacherous in the hot and dry summer months. This is a constant battle for insurance carriers – where do they draw the line between properties that are insurable versus uninsurable. For homeowners it can become a bit confusing as carriers often change their guidelines in response to their actual losses. Meaning a property that was once in a low or moderate risk area may now be deemed too high of a risk to insure.
The good news is there are always carriers that will insure your property, it is just a matter of finding the best fit.
Things to note about Brush Risk:
- Each carrier has its own method of fire risk mapping. What is ok for one insurer may not be for the next
- The higher the proximity to brush – think forest/mountain areas – the higher the insurance premium. If you are thinking of buying a home in one of these areas, have a discussion about insurance first so the premium doesn’t catch you by surprise
- When all else fails, the CA Fair Plan is a great option – or try surplus line carrier. The CA Fair Plan, was created to help insure the previously uninsurable, otherwise or CA home market would have really tanked. Without the access to home owner’s insurance in specific areas, those smaller economies would have been significantly impacted as well as the real estate industry as a whole.
- Some fire policies do not come standard with all of the coverages a typical home owner’s policy would include. Make sure you find out if there are any differences between the two and decide which coverages need to be added on as an endorsement or which you can live without.
- Take proper precautions. The risk of fire is literally everywhere; it is a good idea to improve the safety around your home. Interior fire sprinklers are now code for all new homes. Make sure you check your smoke detectors every 6 months. Fire extinguishers are an inexpensive addition – keep them in the garage, kitchen and bedrooms/hall. But most importantly, have a plan for your family.