Many factors affect your homeowner’s insurance premiums. These could be because you live in a high crime rate area or locations that are prone to floods or fires. With the number of wildfires increasing every year, many Americans are currently struggling to find homeowners insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute report, over 4.5 million U.S. homes in 38 states are at high or extreme risk of wildfire.
What Makes Homeowners Insurance Hard to Find in Fire-Prone Areas?
Homeowners’ insurance providers are re-evaluating the risks of insuring properties in fire-prone areas as a result of the recent record-breaking wildfires. Many conventional insurers refuse to cover buildings in these regions, while others no longer renew insurance. According to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, there were 41,051 wildfires from January 1 through September 8, 2020, up from 35,386 over the same period in 2019. As wet seasons are increasingly getting shorter and dry seasons longer, insurers don’t want to take on the liability that brings.
How Can You Insure Your Home in A Fire Prone Zone?
If traditional homeowners’ insurance is not an option, there are still several options to insure your house in a fire-prone location.
- Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plans:
FAIR, or Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans are a last resort option offered by a majority of states. For those who are unable to obtain home insurance due to no fault of their own, FAIR Plans offer coverage. Fire, vandalism, riots, and windstorms are all covered by FAIR Plans. However, personal liability and medical expenses are typically not covered. To ensure there are no protection gaps, homeowners can upgrade their coverage by obtaining a Difference in Conditions policy.
- Surplus and Excess Lines Carriers:
Non-admitted carriers, often known as surplus or excess lines insurance carriers, are specialized businesses that take on risks that normal (admitted) insurance firms won’t. These businesses’ homeowner insurance policies are typically more expensive and less comprehensive than those offered by traditional carriers. Although governments oversee surplus lines companies, unlike recognized insurance carriers, they do not guarantee payment of claims in the event of bankruptcy. It is always wise to do a financial solvency check on the company before buying a surplus line coverage.
- Shop around for discounts:
When you combine your homeowners and auto insurance policies, certain insurers may offer substantial discounts, or they may provide discounts for a variety of other reasons.
What Can You Do to Make Your Home Less Fire-Prone?
Wildfires can cause irreparable damage. If you reside in a fire-prone location, there are a few things you can do to try to minimize the damage:
- Build your house more than 15 feet away from neighboring homes
- Get rid of brush, shrubs, and dead vegetation underneath your home
- Prune branches
- Install non-flammable gates
- Confirm your home has a six-inch ground-to-siding distance
- Get non-combustible roofing and siding
- Keep gutters clean
- Remove debris from your roof
Find the Right Home Insurance with McCarty Insurance
Finding affordable homeowners’ insurance may be difficult if you live in a region where wildfires are a common occurrence. It’s a smart idea to compare prices if your insurance has expensive premiums or you’re having trouble finding the right coverage. At McCarty Insurance, we are here to help you get customizable quotes and understand your options as a homeowner living near brush fire zones and high-risk areas. Contact us today to get started!