Wildfire safety: How to protect your home

  • Learn how to prepare for a wildfire and protect your home and family
  • Know how your insurance policies are a part of wildfire preparedness
  • Find out how to start planning today for wildfire safety

In recent years, more than 60,000 wildfires in the U.S. burned millions of acres. Otherwise known as uncontrolled outdoor fires, wildfires are especially prevalent in the western United States, particularly in states like California and Texas where a wealth of dry brush provides an ample fuel source. If you live near wildlands—especially those at highest risk for a wildfire—these tips may help protect your home and family and help ensure you have proper wildfire coverage on your homeowners insurance policy.

First things first—protecting your home and family:

How to prepare for a wildfire

If you or your family lives in an area affected by wildfires, keep an ear to the TV or radio for the latest condition updates. Monitor evacuation routes and progress in fighting the fire. Pack any possessions you will need or can't replace, and be ready to leave your home if an evacuation is ordered. Make sure you take important papers, including insurance documents. Visit our Safety Action Guide for more information.

Ensure easy access

Make sure the entrance to your home is always accessible to fire safety vehicles, especially large ones, and that your house number is easily visible from the street.

Maintain vegetation

Trees, shrubbery and intricate landscaping may be beautiful, but landscaping may affect your home's vulnerability. Visit our Wildfire Protection infographic to learn how to maintain landscaping with a concept known as defensible space.

Be proactive

You may be able to stop wildfires from spreading with the following wildfire prevention tips:

  • Stack firewood a safe distance from your home, uphill. Keeping wood piles more than 100 feet from your home is recommended.
  • Clear an area around propane tanks and grills.
  • Follow local burning regulations when disposing of trash and store flammable materials in appropriate safety cans.
  • Have an emergency water supply close to your home. This could be a pool, small pond, cistern or hydrant. In addition, be sure to have a hose long enough to reach any area of your property.
  • Because fire-resistant building materials aren't cost-effective for every home, talk to a local contractor and use your best judgment to assess the wildfire risk to your property.

Understanding your homeowners insurance coverage

Find the proper wildfire coverage

The value of your present home can be far less than what it would cost to actually rebuild it after a fire. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, be sure your homeowner's insurance will cover the cost of construction per square foot of your home from the interior to the exterior, foundations to the roof.

Likewise, verify that your current coverage will cover the costs of replacing the possessions within your home. A standard home policy provides limited coverage on certain high-value items. If you own items such as jewelry, artwork or collections that are particularly valuable, you'll want to consider purchasing special coverage just for them. We can help you identify the proper coverage to protect your home and your belongings.

Give us a call. We're here to help.

Filing a wildfire claim

Give us a call

Touch base with us as soon as you can, and have your policy number ready. We can initiate a claim, explain your available coverage, and provide recommendations and solutions for cleaning up and repairing your home.

Take pictures – before and after

Photographic evidence of your home and the valuables in it helps us better help you in the event of a loss. Long before damage occurs, take pictures of your home—from the outside and the contents of each room. You should store copies of these photos in a location other than your home. (Uploading them to a free online photo storage site is an easy solution.)

If you experience a loss, take detailed photos right away. That way, you can provide before and after photos of damage, which gives us a basis for comparison and a more thorough understanding of the scale of the damage.

Save receipts

If you are mandated to evacuate your home, you may file a claim for additional living expenses. These are expenses beyond what you would normally incur—things like charges to stay at a reasonably priced hotel, additional increased meal costs, and even pet boarding fees. Save these receipts for future reimbursement.

Plan today

If you have a home in a hot, dry climate or in a remote wooded area, your risk for wildfires may be greater. Plan ahead today to protect your home tomorrow.