Homeowners Fire Insurance in Wildfire-Prone Areas

August 22, 2019

Insuring your home against the damage of natural disasters should provide peace of mind. In a perfect world, your property insurance company should be there to pick up the pieces when disaster strikes.

For those “lucky” enough to keep their California fire insurance coverage, the premiums and deductibles are increasing nearly three-fold. Most Californians can agree that something needs to change about the way they insure their homes against natural disasters.

Scrambling For High-Risk Fire Insurance

According to the LA times, there is one story that numerous Californians share: homeowners are finding out about non-renewal or cancellation of their homeowner’s insurance. They are also being denied by a long line of insurance brokers and agencies only to land an insurance policy that can cost upwards of $20,000 per year with a $100,000 deductible. Complaints filed with the state of California have skyrocketed as concerned homeowners scramble to find coverage.

This shift in fire risk assessment after the Paradise fires of 2018 has been a wake-up call for many insurance companies with multiple policies in a particular area. This wake-up call is one reason behind what looks like a mass insurance exodus as insurance companies are working to spread out their risk of future losses.

In the past, a block of ten houses had insurance from one or two major insurance companies. However, this puts them at risk of significant losses if the neighborhood were to go up in flames. A new shift has insurance brokers choosing not to renew a large number of policies to limit their potential losses in fire-prone areas.

Reducing Your Wildfire Risk

The insurance companies that are looking to fill the void of these recent policy vacancies are taking a closer look at other measures homeowners can utilize to decrease their risk of fire damage. These other measures include fire resilience recommendations, like maintaining 100 feet of defensible space on your property and installing fire hardening measures on the home.

Fire hardening your home may make your home more attractive to home insurance companies and could reduce the damage your home incurs in a wildfire. It will also give firefighters more time they need to defend your home properly. 

Fire Hardening at Work

At Renew Financial, we have seen first-hand the benefits of hardening a home against wildfires. Last August, the Ferguson Fire crept its way up to the backdoor of Renew Financial’s former CEO, Cisco DeVries’ childhood home. The DeVries family took the necessary fire hardening precautions, including clearing the brush, thinning the forest, and installing fire-resistant home upgrades.


Wildfires Can Affect Everyone

Wildfires are not going to verify your financials before they threaten the safety of your family and your home. From lower-income communities to gated celebrity-studded neighborhoods, wildfires have destroyed many types of homes over the past decade.

When it comes to the brave men and women fighting those fires, Cisco DeVries said it best: “Thankfully, no one put a price tag on saving my home. The firefighters that charged up the mountain at 2 a.m. didn’t demand payment. They didn’t check anyone’s credit scores. To do so would have been cruel.”

Fire Hardening Upgrades for All

At Renew Financial, we created the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program so homeowners could improve their homes without having to empty their savings account.  Using  CaliforniaFIRST PACE financing for your fire hardening upgrades allows you to immediate access 100% of the upfront costs associated with upgrading your home’s fire resilience. Projects that utilize PACE financing are paid back as a line item on your property taxes. 

Fire hardening upgrades that qualify for PACE financing include installing fire-resistant roofing material, and double-paned and tempered windows.

Renew Financial has the financial resources you need to help increase your home’s fire resilience. Don’t wait to make your home safer. If there is one thing many Californians have learned about wildfires, it’s that a wildfire won’t wait for you!

Protect your California home. Finance your fire hardening upgrades with PACE from Renew Financial! Call us at 844-736-3934.