Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Do you life near a hillside or in a high fire area? There are some steps you should take now to protect your family and your property. Among them are:

1. Keep trees and other vegetation away from the roof. If a burning branch breaks, it has no other place to go but your roof.

2. Keep a defensible clear space around your property. Clear brush and vegetation away from your home and any structures like sheds. At least 400 feet is recommended.

3. Have a grab and go kit ready. Put copies of your insurance forms, bank information, names of contacts you may need, a copy of your home inventory and emergency preparedness plan. Check out this post for more info.

Remember, you can't always anticipate when a fire or other disaster could threaten your family and your home, but you can do a little preparation ahead of time to be ready.

Check out this video from CAL FIRE for more great information.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Got High Water Jeans?

Recently I was contacted to provide a quote for flood insurance on a property. Well, needless to say, they were a shocked. The flood insurance alone was a little over a thousand a year. Plus they still had to get homeowners insurance.

I advised them that they should get in touch with a surveyor and have them do an elevation certificate and survey, which could lower their rate for flood insurance.

Right now, the flood program assumes that the structure is at the lowest point on the property and that it will be a lake if we have enough water. The elevation certificate explains how the structure sits on the property in relation to the low points or areas of potential flooding. The NFIP sets flood insurance rates and determines flood zones. The homeowner can challenge the flood map and zone, but they should enlist the help of a surveyor and / or their local county or state flood control agency.

Now if you are lucky enough to pay cash for your home, you can opt to not purchase flood insurance if you own the property free and clear. Just keep in mind that if the house should flood (water and / or debris coming in from outside the structure, filling up to a level and then receding), you would have no coverage under your homeowners policy. A flood could be caused by a burst pipe in the street, a hydrant getting hit by a car, or any other number of things.

If you are in a flood zone and trying to sell your home, make sure you have a copy of your elevation certificate available for the buyer. It could save your transaction. Better still; most cities will scan a copy of your elevation certificate for free so that it is available by going to the city in case you loose it.