Can I Get Home Insurance without Cutting Down All of My Trees?
This is a question asked by most residents of our mountain community. According to RPM Agency, the answer is a qualified, “yes.” Although there is a balance that can be struck between going to the extreme of cutting down every tree on your property and practicing responsible fire mitigation.
“One of the many horror stories I’ve heard was from a homeowner who had just settled on his new property only to learn from an inspector after closing that $15,000 in fire mitigation would be required in order to keep his insurance policy,” said RPM Owner/Agent Michele Robbins. “While this scenario should never happen, it’s all too familiar to many of our residents. That’s why RPM Agency works with “Mountain-Property Friendly” insurance carriers that do not require fire mitigation, but instead depend on their Agents educating the insured on the right steps to take without fear of delay or cancelation of their insurance.”
Finding the Right Carrier
As an independent insurance broker, one of the advantages RPM brings to clients is its alliances with multiple carries across Colorado. RPM can match their clients with their partner carriers who understand the unique environmental characteristics of our mountain community. RPM also can be the broker between clients and carriers to identify situations that might cause a “red flag” and provide guidance on how to mitigate issues before a home inspection.
A good example is when RPM Agency learns the house has a woodstove. It’s the perfect opportunity to suggest a Woodstove Inspection “prior to closing on the house,” since the typical pre-purchase home inspection does not include a certified roof inspection or a certified woodstove inspection.
“70% of all structural fires in our community are from chimney fires AND our area has so many very old woodstoves,” says Robbins. “Many of our clients have received a new woodstove as a result of a certified inspection. Either way, the inspection most definitely confirms a safer home.”
Education Empowers Homeowners to Make Fire-Wise Choices
The best way to make smart choices when it comes to fire mitigation is to learn more about the latest fire prevention strategies. RPM is a firm believer in education to the extent that every RPM home insurance client is required to attend a free fire mitigation seminar within the first year of being a policyholder. Participants not only learn about fire mitigation, but also walk away with a portfolio of free, local resources to help them make a fire-ready plan.
“We have designed our fire mitigation seminars with two priorities in mind,” said Robbins. “The first is to make our clients aware of the extreme wildfire danger we face in our community along with how we got to this point. The beautiful thick forest most can see from their kitchen windows may seem idyllic, but it’s actually a danger to their homes and their neighborhoods if not properly managed.”
“Our second priority is to educate our clients about the steps they can take to make their homes fire wise both inside and out,” said Robbins. “We want our neighbors to understand that unlike other natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados, fire is the one catastrophe we have the power to pre-empt and control.”
Hardening Homes Without Sacrificing Style
Hardening your house to protect it from the impact of a fire does not mean sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of your home. Advancements in the creation of fire-resistant materials for the exterior of your home – from fiber-cement board siding to fire resistant roofing and protective coatings similar to paint or stain that you can apply to your outside structures and deck are some examples of attractive and safe applications.
When it comes to landscaping, thoughtful choices can add value to your home and help create a barrier to minimize the spread of fire. Planting at least five feet from your home, replacing wood mulch with stone or a synthetic mulch that is virtually indistinguishable from the “real thing,” and ensuring that leaves and other debris are cleared from your gutters are smart steps to take. These strategies can mitigate the impact of burning embers that the wind can blow in from a distant live fire. RPM has a complete home safety checklist you can adopt to make your home more fire resistant. Go to www.rpmagency.com/resources.
Making Your Emergency Plan
To ensure that your family is protected from a potential wildfire in your area, the best line of defense is to sign up for Code Red notifications at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/655AC5D55998 Through Code Red, you can receive a call, text or email alert regarding dangerous suspects, chemical spills, floods, or fire.
According to Robbins, who serves on the Jefferson County Wildfire Risk Reduction Task Force, only 30 percent of Jefferson County residents have registered with CodeRED. She hopes to see a dramatic increase in that statistic.
“CodeRED is a vital line of communication which alerts residents when they need to evacuate and advises them on the direction and location of a fire,” said Robbins. “By simply sharing your contact information with the Jeffco CodeRED you are taking a big step toward protecting the lives of your loved ones.”
To sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications, go to https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/655AC5D55998
Fire Season Has Arrived
We’ve fully entered the 2021 fire season and our local wildfire threat is close and real. If you do anything for your family this year, please protect them! Register for Code Red, follow a home safety checklist, prepare a property mitigation plan, and involve your entire household to work the fire-ready plan with you.