IINC: Half of California Homes Face Wildfire Dangers

May 5, 2004

More than half of California’s 12.5 million homes face wildfire dangers that pose a financial loss potential well in excess of $106 billion, according to state fire statistics.

California Department of Forestry research indicates that more than 7.2 million California homes are categorized in the three highest fire risk levels — more than 6 million of which are located in urban areas.

“More homes are susceptible to wildfires than homeowners realize,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the non-profit Insurance Information Network of California (IINC). “We know the importance of preparing our properties by clearing a defensible space, but homeowners should also protect their investment by updating their insurance policy.”

If homeowners have not updated their policy to reflect new purchases or home upgrades, the limits of their insurance contracts may not reflect their true insurance needs, according to IINC.

As fire season becomes a year-round risk, IINC recommends homeowners take measures to reduce their home’s susceptibility to wildfire danger by creating a defensible space, planting a fire resistant landscape, developing a family evacuation plan and documenting a home inventory. Property owners should also make sure their insurance coverage keeps pace with the rising cost of rebuilding their homes and replacing their possessions. Homeowners in communities at greatest risk of wildfire are also encouraged to join or form Fire Safe Councils, which bring the public and private sectors together to protect their communities from wildfire.

Additional fire prevention tips, fire-resistant landscaping advice and a home inventory guide can be found on the IINC Web site at www.iinc.org.

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