If you live in an area prone to wildfires, it is especially crucial to protect your homeowners association against these catastrophically destructive events. Think about all of the recent wildfires that have struck California, from last winter’s Thomas fire to this month’s active wildfires. Due to the area’s drought-like conditions and extremely dry vegetation, California is prone to experiencing devastating wildfires, and so far this year’s fire season looks as though it would be no less destructive. Some experts are calling this type of dry season California’s “new normal.”
Due to weather and vegetation conditions, it may not always be possible to completely avoid the devastation of a wildfire. Because of this, it’s important to protect yourself and the other members of your association by obtaining adequate insurance. Contrary to popular belief, not all policies are created equal, and not all policies will provide you with the protection that you need after a fire.
Last Year’s Wildfire Aftermath
Last year in California there were almost 9,000 wildfires across the state, resulting in many deaths, more than $10 billion in damage, and countless survival stories. Heavy property damage and impacts included, 1.2 million acres of land burnt, over 10,800 structures destroyed, and at least 46 individuals killed with over 100 injured.
High levels of precipitation last winter resulted in mass growth of fuel such as grasses, shrubs, trees (anything flammable) across the state. That fuel caught fire, continuing to push the number of acreage burned, leaving behind devastation that was truly unbearable for some.
This Year’s Wildfire Predictions
Drought-like conditions can be extremely dangerous. As the climate changes, Southern California will have a longer dry season. This dry season may overlap with fall’s notorious Santa Ana winds, which will create an extremely combination.
The sudden transitions back and forth from really wet years to really dry years also contributes to increased wildfire risk across the state, due to increased vegetation growth.
As Californians expand into high-risk areas, often areas that are desirable because of their ocean views and picturesque vegetation, developers and regulators are being forced to consider what building in fire zones means, especially since the mix of wildland-urban areas make fires more difficult to fight.
Insuring for Wildfires
Insuring against fires can be difficult for California homeowners and associations. Homes, infrastructure, topographical features like slopes, hills, and trees are all contributing factors to a fire’s ignition and burn-time, but there is no one clear determinate. Predicting with certainty when and how fires will affect Southern California is impossible. However, what is certain is how important it is to be insured against wildfires in such a dry, hot, and windy state. Sometimes the damages are too catastrophic and sudden for inadequate insures to know how to handle properly. Homeowners have had trouble finding insurance providers that deal with the needs specific to California.
Earlier this year, in response to the December 2017 fires, Farmers Insurance made an adjustment to advance 60 percent of its contents limit to customers with a total loss (no inventory required) in response to the extraordinary circumstances created by those wildfires. This was more than twice what California insurers were asked to advance their contents limits by the California Department of Insurance.
Farmers greatly values its customers and hopes to continue to to assist its customers through any additional losses. Don’t wait for the disaster to strike to check on your insurance. Get a comprehensive insurance program from Scott Litman today.
About Scott Litman Insurance Agency
At Scott Litman Insurance Agency, we are dedicated to protecting HOA’s like yours. We have a unique understanding of the industry and the common risk exposures that you face in your daily operations. In fact, we find that 90% of the policies we review are missing coverages that violate the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R), exposing the board, HOA and management to lawsuits– which is why our comprehensive policies are tailored to meet your specific needs at competitive prices. For more information about our products, contact our experts today at (818) 879-5980 ext. 201, or fill out our online form.