CALIFORNIA FIRE INSURANCE FOR HOMES NEAR BRUSH AND WILDFIRE AREAS
California residents who are buying or own property near high brush areas are finding it more and more difficult to obtain home insurance. Home owners are shocked and frustrated as insurance options have become limited in the wildfire zones throughout California.
Since 2008, Einhorn Insurance has been insuring properties in California’s high fire risk areas. Our agency has scoured the market to locate the best policies to properly protect your properties. We understand how time sensitive (especially if in escrow) home insurance can be and assign high brush risks top priority.
Einhorn Insurance insures homes, condos, townhomes, renters, landlords, mobile homes and rental units throughout California in high brush and wildfire areas. We have access to many A-Rated insurance carriers that will insure your property whether it is a luxury estate, small studio or anything in between.
Our agency also specializes in escrow closings with properties in high brush regions and work directly with your lender and escrow officer to make sure your escrow closes on time.
WHAT IS A WILDFIRE?
About 40 years ago, a large fire was one that damaged about 15,000 acres. Today, it’s not unusual for a fire to burn over 100,000 acres. Thanks to wildfires, global warming and arson, fire season is now year-round causing insurance companies to reassess which homes they will and won’t insure. Once an insurance company identifies your home’s geographic location as a high fire risk area, you may be denied coverage, or your current policy may be canceled (this can happen regardless of how long you’ve been insured with the same company).
Californians living in high fire locations are especially aware of the risk if their homes are a short distance from brush. While most insurance carriers won’t insure your property if you’re within 2500 feet of canyons, brush or a wild fire area, Einhorn Insurance can find an option to insure homes regardless of brush clearance (even if the property only has 100 feet of clearance from the home itself).
HOW DO INSURANCE CARRIERS DEFINE BRUSH?
Brush is any live or dead bushes, shrubs, thicket, trees or other “unmanaged” vegetation near your home or property. This brush can potentially light on fire, burn and/or fuel a wildfire.
Vegetation or trees growing in thick bundles (especially low to the ground) are more of a threat as a fire source. Homes within close proximity to native flammable vegetation are of great concern to insurance carriers. Piles of dead yard debris, tree branches, dried grass, etc. are also considered uncleared brush.
If you have a yard with manicured vegetation (i.e. groomed plants/trees), this is not typically a concern unless the greenery is touching the home, roof or hanging within 3 feet over the roof.
OTHER VARIABLES INSURANCE CARRIERS CONSIDER WHEN DETERMINING IF A HOME IS LOCATED IN A CALIFORNIA HIGH BRUSH ZONE:
Topography: This is your surrounding terrain and landscape. Poor road accessibility also plays a factor in your property’s insurability.
Wind Patterns: Your home may be in an area where the wind patterns blow flames toward your property.
Distance to the nearest fire station: You may be near a fire station; however, it doesn’t count if it’s a volunteer fire station. You must have your assigned RESPONDING fire station within a certain distance of your property.
Distance to a fire hydrant or water source: It is preferred you are within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant or a large water supply system.
Roof type: Certain roofs are more fire resistant than others.
PPC (Public Protection Classification): This is a rating from 1-10 (10 = very high fire risk).
FireLine score: This is an eligibility tool used by some insurance companies. It uses advanced remote sensing and digital mapping technology to determine the impact of 3 factors that deems a home a high wildfire risk: surrounding fuel or brush, the slope of your home and the ability to access your property at the time of a fire.
SHIA: A SHIA area, also known as Special Hazard Interface Area- homes in an area that are exposed to wind-borne embers.
IS YOUR HOME INSURANCE BEING CANCELLED OR NON-RENEWED DUE TO BRUSH?
If you are cancelled or not renewed by your insurance company, it’s important to find home insurance quickly. Once you’ve been cancelled and deemed an unacceptable risk, your lender is notified. At that time, you must immediately find another policy, or your lender will purchase insurance for you. This is known as “force placed insurance.” These policies are usually VERY EXPENSIVE, offer marginal coverage, and are usually not A rated. One of our client’s rates jumped from $150/mo to $900/mo with force placed insurance. After calling Einhorn Insurance, we were able to issue a policy for about $180/mo.
Einhorn Insurance offers California Fair Plan (CFP) + Difference in Condition (DIC policies)
When mainstream insurance providers aren’t available, California Fair Plan (CFP) is a home insurance option and satisfies lender requirements. CFP policies cover damage from fire, wildfire, smoke, wind, hail, riot, vandalism, explosion, a vehicle and aircraft. Replacement Cost coverage can be added for most homes. California Fair Plan also offers policies if a property is your primary residence, second home, a rental, a vacation rental or vacant. If you are building a home in a high fire risk area, CFP has course of construction policies too.
In addition to purchasing a CFP policy, a majority of property owners purchase a supplemental DIC (Difference in Conditions) policy; DIC policies are sometimes called “Wrap-Around” policies. A DIC policy fills gaps and provides coverage for many perils NOT covered by the CFP including:
- Water Damage (such as a pipe bursting or an accidental overflow from an appliance).
- Theft & Burglary (including items stolen away from your home…i.e. from your car).
- Liability (coverage if someone gets hurt on your property and/or if your pet hurts another person/animal).
- Liability covers you on and away from your home.
- Medical Payments To Others
- Falling Objects (i.e. tree falling on your roof)
- Weight of Ice/Snow/Sleet damaging your home.
- Freezing of Pipes
Together (as a 2 policy package), the California Fair Plan and DIC policies provide fairly comprehensive coverage for a home.
To expedite the home insurance shopping experience, call Einhorn Insurance as soon as possible. Our agency writes a large volume of high brush policies and has developed amazing relationships with underwriters.
We know you have better things to do than shop around for home insurance. Streamline the process by contacting an experienced insurance agency that specializes in insuring homes in California high brush fire areas. We will do their best to shop the market for the most competitive, comprehensive property insurance option. We are ready to help!
For tips on how to prevent fires if you live in a high brush zone visit: https://einhorninsurance.com/california-insurance/fire-season-now-all-year-longits-never-ending/