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  • USA: Up in smoke: Home insurance is getting too hard to find in wildfire country

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USA: Up in smoke: Home insurance is getting too hard to find in wildfire country

Source(s):  Huffington Post Inc.

By Sophie Quinton


While most homeowners in fire-prone places can still get a policy, insurers often make coverage conditional on homeowners managing trees and undergrowth. And some might get denied by several insurers before finding one willing to take on the risk.


The Wildfire Partners program is staffed by forestry and fire protection experts and advised by insurance companies, including Allstate, that have pledged to accept certificates earned by families who complete work on their property.


“I was prepared for — ‘Oh, you’ll have to clear-cut everything,’” [Chris Cook, a homeowner] said. He was advised, instead, to keep a healthy distance between trees and cut back saplings and brush pressing up against them, which both reduces the chance of a dangerous fire and allows the savanna-like grassland among the pines to flourish.

The specialist later sent Cook a to-do list — mostly cutting back long grass that was creeping up to his back patio and removing some nearby bushes and trees — which Cook hired the local fire protection district to complete. The work cost $1,100 but Cook paid only $500, thanks to a subsidy from Wildfire Partners. The program paid for the visit from the specialist, too.

When the work was done, Cook received a certificate of completion and submitted it to Allstate. It had taken weeks of stress, peppered by threatening letters to him from his mortgage lender, but thanks to the certificate his insurance was reinstated.


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  • Publication date 03 Jan 2019

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