Wildfires force insurance companies to change and update their coverage plans – NBC Bay Area


The Dixie Fire in Plumas County now covers nearly half a million acres and is on its way to becoming one of the largest fires in California history.

But the records he’ll break are only a year old – that’s how bad the wildfires have gotten in California.

“We are facing unprecedented fire behavior,” Santa Clara County Fire Captain Justin Stockman said.

Stockman has just recovered a team from the front lines of the Dixie Fire.

In South Bay, the Alexander family know all too well the fear and uncertainty experienced by those in the path of the fire.

“We actually had to be evacuated twice so the first time we went to a friend’s house so we were lucky,” said Tony Alexander, an evacuee from SCU Fire.

Alexander’s house was spared the SCU fire last August. And if there is a next time at least one company – Safeco Insurance – has now said it has a new plan to help.

The company adds a no-cost benefit to policyholders called the Forest Fire Response Benefit. Here is what they will do before a big fire:

  • They will cut the weeds around your property to create a defensible space.
  • The transporter will also bring a temporary sprinkler system to protect your home if you are in the evacuation area.
  • And they will apply fire fighting gel or foam on your house to try to insulate it from the fire.

Safeco only offered the policy to what are called “high value houses”. But now it is offering the free benefit to all policyholders, and other companies are starting to offer similar benefits.

County firefighters have said they are counting on homeowners to do their part in creating a defensible space and are happy insurance companies are thinking outside the box.

“It’s a good investment for your insurance company and at some point it becomes a smart financial decision for them to come and clear the vegetation on your behalf, absolutely,” said Stockman.


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