Understanding Insurance Issues

Homeowner's Insurance Tips For Protecting Your Rural Home From Wildfires

Now that the ink has dried on your rural home sale and you are officially a homeowner, it is your responsibility to protect your new investment from the ever-present threat of wildfire. In addition to adequately insuring your home against fires, some of the best ways to protect your investment are covered below in the following tips:

Tip: Clear the Defensible Space Around Your Home and Outbuildings

Once a fire takes hold in a rural area, it tends to burn fast and hot. Fast fires can blow through many miles in a single hour, and the excessively hot flames will reach heights well higher than the tops of trees. For this reason, it is imperative you clear a large area of defensible space around your home and all of the outbuildings on the property. The defensible space keeps the flames from reaching your buildings and allows the fire department room to work to protect your property from burning down.

Tip: Keep All Trees Pruned Off of the Ground

If your new rural property has tree species that send out branches near the ground, such as juniper trees, it is vital you prune all of the lower branches off. Removing all of the lower branches helps prevent trees catching on fire from burning grasses or weeds on the ground around their trunks.

Tip: Make an Evacuation Plan for Your Family

Before moving into your new home, first you should sit down as a family and create an evacuation plan for wildfires or other unforeseen emergency situations. Choose a remote meeting place and designate someone outside of your local area who will work as a contact person if the local cell phone service goes down and you can't call each other.

Tip: Make an Evacuation Plan for Your Pets and Livestock

If your family has pets and/or plans to have livestock on your new rural property, then it is important to create an evacuation plan for them as well.

Dogs and cats need carriers for moving them and for use in evacuation shelters. They will also need food, water bowls, leashes, blankets, and toys to keep them busy.

You need a plan to haul your livestock if you are asked to evacuate. If you do not have a trailer or towing capability, then stock some spray paint or permanent markers. Both can be used to mark your livestock before you open their gates and turn them loose to give them a fighting chance against the fire.

Tip: Work with Your Insurance Agent to Properly Insure Your Home

Finally, it is important to note you need to work with your insurance company to make sure your home is properly insured against wildfire. When you get a policy, make sure it covers replacement cost and takes into consideration the latest building codes.