If you own a home in Southwest Riverside County, or anywhere in California for that matter, you’ve likely been affected by fire line scores for your Fire Insurance/Homeowner policy. So, what is a fire line or wildfire score? The majority of California homes have a wildfire or fire line score, a property specific rating provided by a third-party organization such as CoreLogic and Verisk Analytics FireLine. The scores are used by insurance companies to assess a home’s risk of being damaged or destroyed in the event of a wildfire. In summary, this fire danger rating is a numeric scaling of the potential over a large area for fires to ignite, spread, and require fire suppression action. It is derived by applying local observations of current or predicted conditions of fuel, weather, and topographic factors to a set of complex science-based equations.
FUEL- Grass, trees, or dense brush that feed a wildfire. This refers to the vegetation surrounding the property and calculates a weighted average of fuel amounts in a 3 radial distance bands within a mile of the dwelling.
SLOPE- Steeper slopes can increase the speed and intensity of a wildfire. This refers to the grade of the land.
SITE ACCESS- Limited access and dead-end roads can impede firefighting equipment and personnel. This identifies potential challenges to reach properties via roads or other pathways for fire suppression activities during wildfires.
It’s no secret that wildfires have been more prevalent in California over the past few years. According to a Verisk FireLine California Report from 2018, a whopping 27% of our state was in a Moderate to High and Extreme risk of wildfire. It’s no surprise that there were over 9,917 total fires that burned approximately 4,397,809 acres in our state, and cost Californians over 12 billion dollars in 2020.
Home Insurance companies have tightened underwriting requirements, and unfortunately, insureds have lost their fire insurance coverage in its entirety or have been forced to endure much higher premiums. There is some good news for those customers that have been non-renewed. The California FAIR Plan has actually improved their coverages. The “Fair Access to Insurance” (FAIR) Plan is a state-mandated program that provides individuals that are having trouble insuring their property due to the fact that insurance companies consider them high risk.
In addition to the California Fair Plan, a Difference in Conditions (DIC) or Companion Policy should be issued to offset the coverages not available to you in the basic package. Contact a local insurance advisor to help you navigate the process to obtain proper coverage.
Craig Davis is an agent for Farmers Insurance and the owner of Craig Davis Family Insurance located at 27645 Jefferson, Suite 113, in Temecula. He may be reached at (951) 699-1776. firstname.lastname@example.org