HOW DO INSURANCE COMPANIES VIEW FIRE SCORES? THREE DIFFERENT WAYS, SEE EXAMPLES BELOW:
*All quoted percentages are approximate*
introduction to Brush clearance & Care
The canyons of Los Angeles are always a challenge in terms of fire safety. In addition to obvious brushy hillsides, there are multiple types of fire hazards that exist because of ornamental vegetation. The Los Angeles Fire Department works year-round to ensure those with this type of shrubbery obey the Fire Code relative to clearance and care.
Where are homes in designated California high fire zones or wild fire areas?
Typically they are located on hillsides, canyons, sloped terrain or high brush areas. Insurance carriers also look at the geography, topography and distance to brush of each individual home.
What if the fire department determined my home to be a low wild fire risk?
Insurance carriers may have a different opinion. It doesn’t matter how close you are to a fire hydrant, the number of local fire stations or if you keep your yard well-manicured, your property may still be classified as a High Brush Zone or Wild Fire Hazard Area; making it difficult to find California Wildfire or High Brush Insurance.
HOW CAN I HELP PROTECT MY HOME?
- Ensure that brush is cleared around your home ( dry grass, firewood, debris )
- Clean your gutters, install gutter guards
- Replace wooden roof with fire resistant materials
- Spray home with PHOS-CHEK fire retardant ( FREE with an Allstate policy through Northlight Specialty )
What if my property falls under the SHIA (Special Hazard Interface Area) parameter?
Properties that fall under the SHIA parameters may have to follow 8 requirements to be insurable:
- No fences, playground equipment, trellises or other combustible structures within 30 feet of the home.
- Brush must be cleared within 100 feet or up to the property line, whichever is less.
- No vegetation within 10 feet of a propane tank & the tank must be more than 30 feet from the home.
- No wood roofs.
- Gutters, soffit vents, chimney and stovepipe non-combustible mesh with opening of no more than one quarter inch.
- No dead or dying plants, shrubs or bushes within 30 feet of the home.
- Eaves and overhangs must be boxed or enclosed with non-flammable materials to reduce the surface area and eliminate any edges that can trap burning embers.
- There must be at least 15 feet of vertical clearance between the home and overhanging tree branches.
What do Insurance Companies use to determine premiums and if your property is in a high fire zone?
PPC Code or Public Protection Class
The PPC code is based on a 1-10 scale (10 = very high fire risk). The PPC takes into consideration the distance to a fire hydrant and the nearest RESPONDING fire station (volunteer stations don’t count). Once your score goes above a 5, there is a premium surcharge.
Insurance carriers will automatically reject the policy if Google drive time is over 10 minutes to nearest fire station.
California High Brush Area Definitions :
- Brush (n) – Considered to be any live or dead bushes, thickets, shrubs, trees or other vegetation. It can easily light on fire exposing homes to potential risk of fire damage.
- High Brush Area (n) – A designation given to areas of land based on topography, wind patterns, distance to responding fire stations, among other factors, generally considered to be more prone to wildfire.
- Wildfire Zone (n) – An area with an abundance of flammable vegetation and periods of dry, hot, windy weather, and possibly a history of brush and other wildfires
- Topography : Your surrounding terrain and landscape.
- Wind Patterns: Is your home located in an area where the wind patterns blow a fire toward your property?
- Distance to the nearest fire station: You may be near a fire station, but if it’s a volunteer fire station, it doesn’t count. You must have your assigned RESPONDING fire station within a certain distance of your property.
- Distance to a fire hydrant or water supply: It is preferred you are within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant or a large water supply system.
- Roof type: If you have a wood roof and are located in a high brush area, this can be an issue for most insurance carriers.
A. M. BEST’S FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING GUIDE – (FSR)
A Best’s Credit Rating (BCR) is a forward-looking, independent, and objective opinion regarding an insurer’s, issuer’s, or financial obligation’s relative creditworthiness. The opinion represents a comprehensive analysis consisting of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of balance sheet strength, operating performance, and business profile or, where appropriate, the specific nature and details of a security.
We inspect homes to qualify, pre-approve, and connect you to the right carrier for a full service homeowners insurance policy. Most carriers will still conduct an inspection after the policy is in force to ensure, home is insured to value and there are no other condition concerns.
Convenient access to request inspections or complete pre-approval online. If we can not make it out to you, we will walk you through the Do-It-Yourself process, just contact us today.
Any questions, trouble understand your policy coverage, looking for better coverage to insure your risks are covered, contact us now!