If you make improvements to your home so it is less likely to be seriously damaged or destroyed in a wildfire, it’s only fair that your insurance costs should reflect that reduced risk…or at the very least, you should be able to find and keep affordable home insurance.United Policyholders
Has Your Big Rate Increase Arrived? Mine Did!
Or, a home insurance cancellation notice like some neighbors? Consumer advocacy group, United Policyholders (UP), is tackling this through their Wildfire Risk Reduction and Asset Protection Project (“WRAP”). Along with the CA Insurance Department, insurers, Fire Safe Councils and a host of other agencies, WRAP hopes to establish for the first time:
1. Uniform, scientifically based, industry-accepted home hardening standards
2. Standardized home inspection and certification programs
3. Insurance incentives for California homeowners to meet standards — CA Dept. of Insurance has draft regulations to do just this.
The industry’s research group, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, is developing a “Wildfire Prepared Home” designation, which our insurers could use to provide discounts or other incentives – details at the link below but basically, requirements under discussion are:
1. Class A fire-rated roof
2. Ember-resistant vents – 1/8 inch
3. 6-inch vertical non-combustible clearance at the base of walls – could be siding, or other non-combustible material from the ground up six inches
4. No combustible siding
5. No combustible materials within 5 feet of the house “home ignition zone”
6. No materials in vents
7. Attached decks that are enclosed, and no combustible materials underneath.
8. Any fence touching or within five feet of house is non- combustible
9. No combustible outbuildings near home
10.Yard is clear of debris.
“Wildfire Prepared Home” designations may start this summer in California. So, if you’re considering some home renovations, you might save future insurance dollars as well as help protect your home, and your neighbors by implementing these target requirements now.
Another good reason to take advantage of the KFS February 17-24 Dumpathon! Free dumpsters for your green fuel waste at: 4312 Ridgeway Drive, 4345 Middlesex Drive, 4308 Alder Drive, 4362 Argos Drive and 4870 Sussex Drive. We are grateful to the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County and the San Diego River Conservancy for supporting this project! More info at: https://www.kensingtonfiresafe.org/dumpathon/ Insurance info: https://ibhs.org/wildfire-prepared-home/ and https://uphelp.org/.
Note: Several insurance companies offer discounts already for fire-hardened homes, mostly for “Fire Wise Communities” that meet specific wildfire damage-resistance criteria. Obtaining this designation requires a lot of volunteer efforts and homeowner cooperation, but already hardened homes as well as having a Fire Safe Council is a help! Kensington’s not a FWC.