Safer from Wildfires is a program through the California Department of Insurance to help drive down the cost of wildfire insurance. The program provides homeowners with a list of actions that must be considered by insurance companies when writing policies and setting costs. At last week’s Poway City Council meeting, Disaster Preparedness Jenna Stein shared an overview of Safer from Wildfires acknowledging that while this is a state (and not a city) program, it will have an important impact on Poway homeowners.
A large portion of Poway falls within the Very High Fire Severity Zone, as identified by the California state fire marshal, and homeowners in these areas are more likely to struggle with getting and maintaining wildfire insurance. Although the fire severity zones are created using a science-based, field-tested model, they do not take into account mitigation efforts that may reduce the actual risk.
Research indicates that 90 percent of homes lost in a wildfire are not because flames reach the home, but rather because wind-driven embers, which can precede the fire by up to a mile, find their way to vulnerable places such as the roof, eaves, leaf-filled rain gutters or plants too close to the home. Safer from Wildfires provides a list of achievable actions that make it tougher for fires to impact homes and guide how neighborhoods can work together to form a Firewise Community and reduce their collective risk.
Insurers have to take these actions into account when writing policies or setting costs. The more actions homeowners take, the money they should be able to save on policies.
View the City of Poway's Homeowner's Guide to Defensible Space.