Los Ranchitos Improvement Association

Fire Insurance and other FireSafe tips


Tips from FireSafe Marin Event 

Marin County Board of Supervisors Chambers

March 6, 2018

Notes by Judy Schriebman

From the Fire Insurance Lawyer
It’s the homeowner’s responsibility, not the insurance company’s, to determine how much insurance coverage you need to rebuild after a fire. This includes not only the cost of rebuilding but also replacing all items lost, including valuables and all the things for daily living, which have low replacement values unless documented. Tell your agent  you want “Full Replacement cost coverage.” Don’t rely solely on appraised cost for replacement cost. You can find certified appraisers online who  come to your home and do the estimation needed for the listing under Coverage A. There are also apps online for documenting all the things in your house – think of replacing everything!  

To rebuild, you have to figure a minimum of $300 per square foot; it can cost $400 to $500 per square foot to rebuild. Additional replacement cost coverage can be bought. Buy the highest replacement percentage coverage available. Also get Building Code Upgrade coverage; your new home will have to conform to code which will often be an additional expense. Get appraisals for bigger value items and have them added to your policy. Living Expense Insurance —for the years you will be relocated while your home is being rebuilt--will be for either a fixed amount or for a period of time. For time, you will need 2 years at least. And if your whole area goes up in flames, builders will be hard to hire and will cost more. Don’t underestimate when calculating your need; go for a higher deductible policy instead if you need to save money. Treat insurance as a disaster policy. Document the phone call with the agent. United Policy holders has app online for inventory. https://www.uphelp.org.  Info also on insurance.ca.gov   
Other tips:
USAA offers discounts for Firewise neighborhoods. Other insurance companies may also do this.
Defensible space does not mean cutting down the trees. Dead trees should be removed and dead branches pruned off. Limbing up trees to prevent laddering is encouraged. Trees act to shade soil and keep it moist; they also hold soil in place on slopes. 
Neighborhood tree removal; if dead trees are within 100 feet of your home, impeding your defensible space, you can call the fire department and they will call on the neighbor to encourage action.

Ready Marin is a good site for disaster preparedness CERT training and advice.

Ready, set go is a national campaign to help you get important things teed up and ready before an emergency strikes.
AlertMarin for email/text.
Also Nixle for cell phone alerts.
Replace vent screens to keep embers out; special WUI (Woodland Urban Interface) compliant vents will have sticker
Red Flag Alert days come from NOAA and indicate high potential wild fire days. Usually 10 per season. People  with special needs, the very elderly, and others especially vulnerable may want to “get out of Dodge” early on these days, or at least consider getting ready to evacuate since more time is needed for them. 
An Evacuation Warning means Get Ready. 
   An Evacuation Order means Get Out! 
Posted by LosNOTchitos on 03/09/2018
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