May 30, 2012
If you live along the hillsides of Murrieta, La Cresta, Bear Creek, Wildomar or Lake Elsinore you might be getting non-renewal notices from your homeowners carriers in the mail. These areas have homes that are located in a wildfire, high brush or a high fire risk area, and insurance companies are reconsidering which homes they will insure. Fire is the leading cause of property losses in the homeowners marketplace. In the last decade, fires have caused direct insured losses of more than $120 billion.
There are however some companies that have no problem insuring homes in these brush areas, but the key is how to find those companies and what criteria do they use. Here is some information that companies use that may help you prepare your home and get you affordable insurance in these high risk areas.
If you find yourself in the situation that is described above, here are some of the things the insurance companies who are still insuring in these areas are looking for.
Acceptable Maintenance and Condition Expectations:
• No wood roofs
• For tile, asphalt, shingle, metal, and all other roof types:
o No brush, forest, or uncleared land within 100 feet of the structure
o No brush area or forest area (3 acres or more) within 200 feet of the structure
•There can be no wood fences, playground equipment, trellises or other combustible wood structures with 30 feet of the dwelling.
• There is no vegetation within 10 feet of a propane tank and the tank must be located more than 30 feet from the dwelling,
• Gutters, soffit vents, chimney and stove pipe outlets must be covered with non-combustible mesh with opening of no more than ¼ inch.
• No dead or dying plants, shrubs or bushes within 30 feet of the dwelling.
• Eaves and overhangs must be boxed or enclosed with non-flammable materials to reduce the surface area and eliminate any edges that can trap burning embers.
• There must be at least 15 feet vertical clearance between the dwelling and overhanging tree branches.
• Distance to the nearest fire station is a major factor. 5 miles or less is key and a Fire hydrant within 1000 feet
Acceptable Site Access:
1. Public Roads: Defined as a road which is maintained by a local city or jurisdiction? The public road must be
• All-weather road – hard surface, not susceptible to mud or wash out due to adverse weather such as rain
• Free of obstacles that would impede emergency vehicle access
• Road width and height is sufficient to allow emergency vehicle access to residence
2. Private Roads: Defined as private road or driveway for local access to one or a small group of structures, and is owned and maintained by an individual or group. The private road must be:
• Emergency Vehicle Accessible – Unobstructed (no locked gate, unless key available in fire department lock box, or obstacles that would impede emergency vehicle access)
• Road width and height is sufficient to allow emergency vehicles access to residence
• Road is no more than ¼ mile in distance from public road access to dwelling
3. Dwelling Isolation Factor: Acceptable isolation factor includes a home in a residential area or grouping of dwellings; meaning three or more dwellings in visual proximity of each other. The dwelling must be:
• Visible from the public road; or
• Dwelling is visible from 3 homes
There are several other variables and tips to finding insurance that I will share in my next post, but if you would like further information or need help finding insurance along the hillsides please do not hesitate to give us a call.
Wildomar Insurance Agency
32395 Clinton Keith Rd, Suite A208
Wildomar, CA 92595
951-678-8111 or 866-473-7641
21 years serving the community