WASHINGTON (Nov. 5, 2019) – In 2018, wildfires destroyed 8.76 million acres of land in the United States, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Wildfires are most common in the west where heat, drought and thunderstorms create favorable wildfire conditions. However, uncontrolled fires can and have occurred in most of the 50 states.
“Wildfires can burn acres of land in a few minutes, devouring everything in its path – trees, cars and homes,” said Eric A. Cioppa, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President and Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance. “That is why it is important to do what you can to lessen your risks and to make sure that you are financially prepared to rebuild should a catastrophe strike.”
The NAIC offers a few tips for homeowners to consider as they develop their catastrophe preparedness plan:
- Consider “hardening” your home. Ember-resistant building materials will make your home less vulnerable to fire. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has lots of resources on this subject. To learn more, visit: https://ibhs.org/wildfire/wildfire-demo-2019/.
- Look for ways to make your landscaping more fire-resistant. Strategically place plants and shrubs, use stones instead of mulch and maintain defensible space zones.
- Make sure you review your home insurance to understand what is covered and what is not. It’s also important to make sure that it is up-to-date and includes recent renovations and purchases. Create a home inventory of your possessions.
- Wildfire victims are at greater risk for flood and mudslides. Typical Homeowners policies do not include these perils. You will need flood insurance to protect against these natural disasters.
For more information on protecting your home from wildfire, visit you state insurance department’s website.