Wildfire season in Southern California seems to be starting earlier and lasting longer compared to previous years, which is a regional trend that is expected to continue because climate conditions are becoming more extreme. In 2016, the National Interagency Fire Center reported that wildfire activity in the western states was 46 percent more active than last year. Here are four steps you can take to protect your home against wildfires, brought to you by the San Diego homeowners insurance experts at Tri-Star Insurance.
1. Review Your Insurance Coverage
You should always think about the worst-case scenario of your residential structure along with your personal property being lost to a wildfire. This will always be a heartbreaking loss, and it can be exacerbated if you’re surprised to learn your property insurance coverage was not the most adequate. Determine if the replacement cost provides enough protection in case of wildfire. Extended coverage endorsements may be available for your property, and they could increase protection by a substantial percentage for a reasonable premium increase. As wildfire season approaches, take an inventory of your personal property and take photographs that should be uploaded to cloud storage.
2. Create a Defensible Space Around Your House
Take a look at the perimeter surrounding your house, and make sure a defensible space of at least 30 feet is not encumbered by debris that could easily combust by fire or embers. The most dangerous debris includes firewood, trash, work sheds used to store paint, dried leaves, and dead shrubbery. Other risky elements include wooden decks and fences made with flammable materials. If you have a barbecue grill or summer kitchen, don’t forget about propane tanks and charcoal pieces.
3. Check Your Roof Vents
Flying embers entering the space between your roof and ceiling can be extremely dangerous. Check your vents and determine if the screens are in good shape. While you’re checking the vents, you should also take a look in the gutters to make sure they are free from combustible debris such as leaves and pine needles. You may also want to consider the roofing material. If your house is located close to a national park, roof shingles may not be the best option, and the same goes for siding made of wood.
4. Install Fire-Retardant Glass and Fireproof Shutters
Panoramic sliding glass doors are very attractive and common in Southern California homes built on the hills, but they don’t provide a good fire barrier unless they are made of fire-retardant glass, which is not an expensive upgrade. All the same, some drapes are more flammable than others. In recent years, California homeowners have been installing fireproof shutters similar to the ones used in the Caribbean to protect against hurricanes. These residential elements can increase your property value but may also lower your insurance premium.
One of the best protective measures you can take is making sure your home insurance is up to date. if you need reliable homeowners insurance, reach out to American Tri-Star. We also offer affordable health, commercial, motorcycle, RV, and auto insurance in San Diego. Call 619-272-2100 today to receive a free quote.