Wildfires are devastating events that can cause significant damage to homes and communities. As an insurance producer, it’s important to educate your clients on how they can mitigate their risk of wildfire damage. Here are 10 tips to help homeowners protect their homes from wildfires.
Create a Defensible Space
Ensuring the safety of your home against potential fire hazards is of utmost importance. One effective way to achieve this is by creating a defensible space. This involves eliminating combustible materials such as plants, rubbish, and other similar items that may ignite easily. It is highly recommended to maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet between trees and shrubs to establish a protective zone. This proactive measure can help safeguard your property from any potential fire outbreaks.
Maintain Your Landscape
To keep your landscape looking its best, it’s important to regularly trim your grass and weeds to a height of no more than 4 inches. Additionally, be sure to remove any dead or dying plants or trees and prune any branches that overhang your roof or are situated too close to your home. This will help maintain the health and safety of your outdoor space.
Use Fire-Resistant Plants
Use fire-resistant plants in your landscaping, such as succulents, rock gardens, and other drought-tolerant plants. Avoid using highly flammable plants such as eucalyptus, juniper, and pine. If you live in an area where wildfires are common, it’s especially important to use fire-resistant plants. If your home is located on a corner lot or near a busy street, consider planting tall trees that can act as a barrier between your property and any potential fires.
Install Fire-Resistant Roofing
If you’re in the market for a new roof, consider installing a fire-resistant roof made of materials such as asphalt, metal, or tile. These materials are less likely to ignite from flying embers. If your home already has a fire-resistant roof, consider installing a heat vent that will allow hot air to escape from your attic in the event of a fire. This will help prevent a fire from spreading from your attic into the rest of your home.
Clean Your Gutters
Clean your gutters regularly to remove dry leaves and other debris that can ignite from flying embers. You should also install gutter guards to help prevent debris from accumulating. If you have a metal roof, consider adding a layer of nonflammable material over it to help prevent ember-related fires. You should also ensure that your home has adequate clearance from trees and other vegetation that could catch fire in the event of a wildfire.
Cover Vents and Openings
Cover vents and other openings in your home with metal mesh screens to help prevent embers from entering your home. You should also seal any gaps or cracks in your home’s exterior with fire-resistant caulk or foam. If you have an exposed chimney, consider covering it with a metal screen or wrapping it in nonflammable material. You should also keep your home’s doors and windows closed during periods of high fire danger to help prevent embers from entering your home.
Install Fire-Rated Windows
Install fire-rated windows made of tempered glass or double-paned glass. These windows are less likely to break from heat or flying debris. If you have older windows, consider installing fire-rated storm windows or insulating glass units. These are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers.
Store Flammable Materials Safely
Store flammable materials such as gasoline, propane, and paint in a safe location away from your home. You should also keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire. When you store flammable materials, make sure they are sealed in an approved container. You may also want to purchase a special type of fuel storage tank that keeps gasoline from evaporating or leaking into the air.
Have an Emergency Plan
Develop an emergency plan with your family that includes evacuation routes, meeting places, and contact information for emergency services. You should also practice your plan regularly. If your home needs to be evacuated, make sure you have a bag packed and ready with essential supplies. If you have time, turn off all gas lines and appliances before leaving the house.
Review Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Review your client’s homeowners insurance coverage with them to ensure they have adequate coverage for wildfire damage. Prime can also review their policy to help identify any gaps or exclusions that are leaving them exposed.
If your client needs wildfire insurance coverage, Prime can help! We write specialty homeowners insurance as an all-in-one policy that provides coverage for wildfires as well as earthquakes, floods, mudslides, and more.
By following these 10 tips, homeowners can reduce their risk of wildfire damage. As an insurance producer, it’s your responsibility to educate your clients on how they can protect their homes and their families. Together, we can help prevent the devastating effects of wildfires.
Related blog: The Ultimate Guide to Wildfire Coverage for Homeowners