Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wildfires Are Back

Wildfires – just when you thought they were over, rear up again. The second coming of the wildfire season this year has been worse than the first. Californians accept that the dangers of earthquakes and wildfires are the price they have to pay to live in the Golden State. Earthquakes are still a force of nature that have not been fully understood and when and where they happen is of course beyond human control. Wildfires too are usually, though not always, acts of nature. The difference is that the frequency and intensity of these fires are steadily increasing. So too is the area that is affected, which is constantly expanding.

It’s Been a Bad Year

Strong Santa Ana and Diablo winds, extremely low moisture levels, drought conditions and an abundance of tinder are among the many reasons why the state is so prone to wildfires. Long term changes to the climate and the environment mean that the situation will only get worse in the future. This year, as of the end of October:
  • The Kincade fire has burned over 66,000 acres.
  • 96 structures, including 40 homes have been destroyed.
  • 80,000 people remained threatened.
  • The Getty fire has burned500 acres.
  • A large number of homes in high-value areas like Brentwood have been damaged or destroyed.
  • Millions of homes have been left without power after electricity was cut off for safety reasons.
  • The damage and loss caused by other fires are still being calculated.
As bad as this year has been, expect both the extent of the risk and the areas where wildfires occur to increase in the future.

Are You Properly Protected?

Statistics show that most of the homes in California are underinsured. The desire to save money by limiting coverage is understandable. However, when the perils that homes face are increasing, the desire to cut back on insurance is becoming an unacceptable risk and one that is rapidly increasing. Over the last few years, there have been a huge number of cases where the insurance coverage for homes damaged or destroyed by wildfires has not been enough to cover the full repair or rebuilding cost and the other expenses that arise while the home is uninhabitable. These homeowners have faced immense financial hardships in trying to rebuild their lives.

Insurance companies are watching this year’s developments closely and it is likely that insurance premiums will go up again as they did in 2017 and 2018 when the wildfire damage resulted in huge payouts and a resulting rise in insurance rates. Expect rates to go up in the next few months when the full extent of this year’s losses have been evaluated. Hence, this is the time to contact a trusted insurance professional who will be able to help you balance the increasing risks your home faces, the rising cost of insurance and the need to have the kind of coverage that will give you and your family the protection you need.

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