Considerations When Insuring a High-Value Mountain Home
Just a decade ago, climate change was a future event, 50 or 100 years down the road. However, each storm and fire season now seems fiercer than the last, and it’s becoming clear that we’re already experiencing the destructive effects of climate change.
Rising temperatures are melting the snow faster on mountains and drying out vegetation, lengthening the fire season and making more fuel available. Flammable vegetation is now increasingly meeting with human development and sources of ignitions, such as power lines or vehicles, and the results have been catastrophic.
If you enjoy ownership of a high-value mountain home, the twin perils of wildfire and flood must be considered and steps taken to mitigate the potential risks and damage from these disasters.
YOU CAN’T CONTROL…
As the potential owner of mountain real estate, there were probably questions from insurers you spoke with, as you were considering the purchase of the property – Is the home located in a known wildfire area? Where is the closest fire station? How accessible is water in the area? Has the area been flood-prone?
The answers to these questions are indicators of your potential for loss from wildfires or floods, but these variables are, for the most part, out of your control. Where the home was located, the nearest location of fire stations and water, and the prior history of fires and flooding weren’t things you could change when you signed the contract to purchase your home.
BUT, YOU CAN CONTROL…
Fortunately, there are measures you can take to lessen the chances that your high-value mountain home will be decimated by fire or flood.
To prevent or minimize flood damage in your home:
• Regularly clear debris from drains and ditches
• Improve grading and drainage around your home
• Periodically check and clean downspouts and gutters
• Check for and seal openings and cracks in your foundation
• Check and seal basement windows
• Inspect and upgrade drains to have backflow prevention
• Install flood skirts and barriers to windows and doors
• Install a pump in your basement and low-lying areas
• Raise electrical outlets
• Raise HVAC systems
• Install an inflatable water barrier
For fire resistance:
• Install ember-proof screens on chimneys and vents
• Mow grass, clear space between shrubs and trees within 100 feet of your home
• Move wood piles outside of a 30-foot perimeter
• Have your roof made of metal or fire-rated shingles
• Install heat resistant, tempered glass windows
• Have your deck made of fire-resistant composite materials
• Space trees and keep branches 10 feet from your home
• Seal garage and door gaps with fire-resistant materials
All western states are prone to wildfires due to long-term drought, tree blight, insect-killed trees, and a history of fire suppression that has allowed forest fuels to build up.
WHAT CAN COMMUNITIES DO?
As more homes are being built in fire-prone areas across the U.S., improved fire prevention and safety is needed at the community level. For example, there should be buffer zones between houses and between the community and the surrounding landscape. Burying power lines, creating water storage facilities, and creating community refuges where people can seek shelter are additional steps that can be taken. Communities can also help residents by educating them about fire and flood prevention.
HIGH-VALUE HOMES NEED HIGH-VALUE HOME INSURANCE
Mass market insurance carriers and agents are acceptable for covering the basics, but being underinsured may put you in serious financial peril. Kelly Klee specializes in insurance for the affluent and offers high-value home insurance that covers:
• Unlimited loss of use
• Green upgrades
• Replacement cost for home contents
• Landscaping coverage
• And more
Call Kelly Klee today at 844-885-1600 or get started online by getting coverage and cost information. We’ll tailor your coverage to meet your needs because your home and property are unique. Let us put our experience insuring high-value mountain homes to work for you.