Tips for homeowners living in wildfire-prone areas

Nearly 80 million properties and 1 in 6 Americans are exposed to wildfires, according to an analysis by the nonprofit First Street Foundation. Homeowners may not know they are in a high-risk area and may not know what precautions to take or how to prepare for a post-fire insurance claim.

In Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. And we sought advice from Joe Gilmartin, owner of the Goosehead Insurance franchise, vice president of property damage assessments in Kalamazoo, Mich. Both responded by email. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Q What can homeowners do if they are in a high-risk area to protect their home?

Lindblom mourn Simple steps that do not require costly repairs in the home Regular cleaning and removal of debris from the well, which can reduce the risk of fire. To help emergency responders identify your property, pressing high visibility numbers is another low-cost option. Homeowners can also plan to remove all combustible vegetation within 30 feet of the house and cover all exterior walls with a fireproof container, mortar, or fireproof foam. More information for homeowners is available on the FEMA website.

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Guilmartin mourn There are many things you can do to protect your home if you are in a fire.

· Clean up growth that could contribute to the spread of fire and brush around your immediate home

· Create a 30- to 100-foot protection area around your home. If you live in a hilly area, clean or cut down on particularly flammable shrubs and trees such as eucalyptus, chrysanthemum shrubs, pine, juniper, etc.

· Do not store firewood or other combustible materials within 30 feet of your home.

· Cover metal cords and vents under the roof to prevent coal from forming. This is a big deal because those coals often get in and the protection burns out quickly.

የማይ Non-combustible roof supports a roof made of asphalt clay or concrete slab. Wood veneers are highly combustible and must be replaced in high fire areas. For those who are more affluent, they can contract to spray their home with a fire extinguisher.

The State Fire Service Marshall in California provides fire safety tips.

Q Is there a special insurance policy or support for wildfires?

Lindblom mourn You should always review your policies and seek the guidance of an agent or insurance professional if necessary. Companies may have different languages ​​in their policies, not including fire or wildfire coverage.

Recent trends in wildfires are being supported by “wildfires” or “wildfires.” These supports, when available, will help you prepare your home and protect it from wildfires. If you are in a high-risk category, you may need to look at the Fair Insurance Plan (FAIR) Plan Insurance. Most states have some fair plan for coverage. Contact your state insurance department for information.

Guilmartin mourn It is covered by wildfires, electric shocks, or any other accident. That is, if a home is in a place where it is very difficult to write a policy due to a wildfire, you will need to seek insurance for profit and profit lines (unacceptable carriers in the state). As a last resort, there is a FAIR plan, which is a policy designed to provide fire insurance to users in high-risk areas. It can be very expensive, limited to coverage and must be accompanied by an additional plan to cover the major risks posed by most traditional service providers.

Q What should homeowners do in advance to prepare for a smoke or fire damage claim?

Lindblom mourn Before any loss, create a complete list of items in your home, including any documentation for the most expensive items. You can do this by taking photos, videos or using an app. If you make any improvements to your home, be sure to subscribe to these updates, including photos or videos.

Make sure your policy information is available. You can take a photo of your policy information on your phone or download it if the insurance company has an application. When you have to make a claim, you can easily get this information to the insurance company or the contact phone number.

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Guilmartin mourn It is wise to have easy access to your landlord’s policy information as well as the address of your insurance agent or call center. I recommend the same to your car insurance policy, because the cars could be damaged if there is a fire and they are parked in the garage. It is also important to understand what you should get as a consumer if you are forced to move out of your home. If you leave home due to fire or fire-related repairs, your policy will usually cover additional living costs. Be sure to contact your agent to find out how your policy works and to have adequate coverage. I also recommend that my clients have a good idea of ​​what is at home. You may want to pack a suitcase with important documents such as birth certificates, passports and social security cards.

Q What steps can homeowners take if they want to make a claim after a fire? Who do you contact and what information should they provide?

Lindblom mourn Contact your insurance company immediately after the bankruptcy. If you have saved your information on your phone or if you have an insurance company app, you can call or sometimes submit your claim through the app. Even if you do not have access to your policy information easily, still call and claim. Most insurance companies can access your policy information based on the address of the property.

Many insurance companies use rental services to find temporary housing in a rented house or hotel. You can also access the property yourself but make sure you are fully aware of your coverage and any restrictions that may apply to your “Disclaimer” coverage.

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