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Fire Insurance Is Getting Harder to Find

Homes were lost in the Meyers Fire that also burned 12 acres in Camino Sept. 20. Democrat file photo by Krysten Kellum

Wildfires continue to exact a toll, this time in the rising cost or cancellation of fire insurance policies in El Dorado County, as described by Dawn Hodson in the Georgetown Gazette (as reported by the Mountain Democrat) and testified to by many, many homeowners.

Debbie Barr, account manager with Vaught, Wright & Bond Insurance, Inc. in Placerville, said… “You’ve got to maintain your property if you want to get and keep insurance…In the past if people kept their land cleared that’s all insurers cared about but now it’s area wide. Carriers are expecting people to maintain a 100 to 200 foot clearance around their property including underbrush, trees trimmed up and debris off the roof.”

(Robert Lenoil, broker with Robert Lenoil Insurance Agency in Placerville) said that may not be enough, adding that FireLine (brush mappimg software used by the insurance industry) scores looks at a quarter-mile radius around a house, not just 200 feet.

“So you could create a defensible space around your house and it still doesn’t matter because insurers are looking beyond that…it’s literally a matter of the entire neighborhood clearing out their respective area.”

Insurers are nervous about dry conditions, knowing that winds can carry embers that ignite a fire in an area thought to be safe. Lenoil cited the fire in Santa Rosa last year that destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood. “It burned to the ground even though it was rated a one, because of embers from a fire burning a mile away.”

Read the entire article here.