How to navigate wildfire risk in California (and other states) when purchasing and building homes
Homebuyers aren’t giving up on California despite the wildfires, mudslides, drought, taxes and high prices. It’s hard to give up the stunning landscape, mild weather and great people who make up the state. Insurance Business Magazine reports that wildfires threaten $1.5 million in home value which represents 7.7& of the total US housing value!
There are steps you can take when considering a home in California and other states where there are wildfire risks including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Not all homes in the same county face the same brush risk. Ask your insurance agent to have the brush risk mapped. Insurance companies have analyzed the potential risk and can tell you whether or not they are willing to insure the home. Do this before you make an offer on the home.
- If you are building a home consider
- Fiber Cement Siding,
- Clay Tile Roofs
- Automatic Seismic Shut-off Valve
- exterior roof sprinklers
- enclosed eaves
- ember resistant venting
- annual brush removal contract
- permanently installed wildfire spray system
- Create a defensible space around your structure – approximately 100 feet on level ground and even further if the area is sloped. Make sure it is maintained and watered regularly
- Some insurers offer a complimentary wildfire protection system. The will provide prevention services including an analysis of the brush risk. Most importantly, during a fire they will deploy privately hired firefighting units who can deploy non damaging fire-retardant gel, roof sprinklers and provide ongoing updates during a fire. These services, from companies like AIG Private Client Group, Chubb and PURE saved many homes that might otherwise have been lost to the fires.
For more information:
AIG Wildfire Protection
Chubb Wildfire Defense
PURE Wildfire Mitigation Program