How Do Insurance Companies Assess Fire Risk?
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The importance of fire insurance cannot be overstated. As a homeowner, having fire insurance can go a long way in helping you to mitigate the aftermath of fire damage.
Without insurance, a fire disaster could lead you to huge financial difficulties.
Unfortunately, if you live in an area prone to wildfires — like Southern California — finding fire insurance can be quite difficult and expensive. Even if you already have fire insurance, the policy can be withdrawn if the conditions of your surroundings change in a way that significantly increases the fire risk.
But how exactly do insurance companies determine the degree of fire risk?
Feel free to contact Gallant Risk & Insurance Services, LLC, for more information on how insurance companies assess fire risk and how you can improve your home’s safety. Contact us today for a quote on homeowners insurance.
Factors Considered in Assessing Fire Risks
Many factors can affect your home’s vulnerability to wildfire risk.
Some of these factors include:
- Surface composition
- Steepness of nearby slopes
- Vegetation and brush
- Wind severity and direction
For instance, the presence of trees and a thick undergrowth around your house can make your home more prone to wildfires, and this might affect your policy.
Similarly, if the surface composition suggests that your house is located in an area that has experienced wildfires in the past, some insurance companies might view you as a high-risk client, meaning that it will be more difficult for you to find an insurance company willing to cover your home against fire.
What You Can Do About the Risk of Fire for Your House?
Due to changing conditions, scientists believe that incidents of wildfires will continue to increase. Therefore, for insurance companies to remain afloat, they need to be more methodical and accurate in their risk assessment.
This means that they may ask more from homeowners when it comes to preparing their homes for fire season.
Part of this is to create a defensible space around your house and property. This space will help slow the spread of a wildfire, giving the fire department a better chance to save your home.
To do this, the fire department and insurance companies recommend:
- Trimming low-hanging tree branches
- Clearing debris and combustible materials (including yard clippings)
- Spacing out plants
- Making sure no tree branches are near to the roof line
- Consider using hardscape like gravel, pavers, and concrete (instead of combustible bark) around the initial perimeter of your house
- Clean roofs, gutters, and decks regularly
- Among others
A lot of factors can influence your home’s exposure to the risk of wildfire. The best way to protect yourself and ensure your home is fully covered is to prepare your home.