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Disasters

Wildfires, severe thunderstorms, high winds, heavy precipitation from rain and/or snow, and other disasters can leave a trail of destruction.  Rebuilding a community after one of these events is expensive and time consuming.  Takes steps now to mitigate risks in and around your home before disaster strikes.

Please contact Consumer Affairs if you cannot find the information you are seeking or if you have additional questions.

Wildfires

Rural homeowners, in particular, need to be aware of potential wildfires.  Many homes are isolated and surrounded by forests and brush-covered grasslands.  When it’s hot and dry, these areas can be a fire threat.  Also, firefighters may have a hard time getting to these homes.

  • Clear a safety zone of at least 200-500 feet around your home by removing trees, leaves, brush, and pine needles, as well as tree branches hanging over your home.
  • Store propane or fuel tanks at least 30 feet away from all structures.
  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers inside your home.  Check that they are working properly at least once per year.
  • If you do not have access toa  community water system or water hydrant, get a water storage tank.  Make sure your garden hoses reach all areas of the property, and keep them visible and in accessible areas.
  • Be sure your entrance road is accessible.  Inaccessible roads can prevent fire-fighting equipment from reaching your home quickly.  The stree address should be easily visible from the entrance to the property so emergency responders are not delayed.
  • Use fire-resistant materials in the structure of your home, especially the roof, which is most vulnerable.

Additional Fire Information Resources:

Earthquakes

Not all homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for earthquake damage.  Read your policy or check with your insurance company or agent to determine if your policy provides coverage for earthquake damages.

Typically, insurance companies that offer earthquake coverage require a separate deductible, which can be higher than what is usually offered for more common homeowner’s insurance coverages, such as fire, smoke, wind, hail, etc.

Tips to prepare for an earthquake:

  • Brace or replace masonry chimneys.
  • Secure ceiling fans and hanging light fixtures.
  • Strap down computers, televisions, and other expensive or hazardous electrical components.
  • Securely fasten or relocate heavy pictures and mirrors over beds and furniture.
  • Secure wall cabinets to wall studs, and use latches to keep cabinet doors from flying open during an earthquake.
  • Ensure that gas appliances have flexible connections.
  • Brace water heaters and ensure that gas models have flexible connections.
  • Know how and when to shut off utilities.
  • Strap bookcases and shelves to walls to prevent tipping.
  • Upgrade unbraced crawlspace walls or other foundation problems.

Additional Earthquake Information Resources:

Floods

Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies usually do not provide coverage for damages caused by flooding.  Flood insurance can be purchased through an insurance agent.  Some insurance companies issue the flood insurance policies in partnership with the federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Your insurance agent may also write a policy for you directly from the federal government.

Tips to prepare for flood:

  • Elevate and anchor your critical utilities, including electrical panels, propane tanks, sockets, wiring, appliances, and heating systems.
  • Waterproof your basement by installing a water alarm and maintaining a working sump pump to protect your basement.  Install a battery-operated backup pump in case of power failure.
  • Regularly clear debris from gutters and downspouts to avoid an accumulation of water.
  • When flooding is predicted or imminent, move furniture and valuables to a safer place, such as an attic or the highest floor of your home.

Click the links below for more information on the NFIP, the level of flood risk to your property, and how to protect your home before a flood occurs.

High Winds

High winds can be quite damaging to your property.  Take the following steps to help mitigate loss to your home if high winds should strike your area:

  • Secure trash cans by storing them next to your home or in your garage.
  • If you have trees around your home, keep low hanging limbs trimmed and cut out any dead limbs.  Also, speak to your power company about trimming branches that could come into contact with any power lines, which can cause outages or fires.
  • Cut down and remove any dead or rotting trees from your property.
  • Take items inside like lawn decorations, hanging plants, lawn furniture, grills, trampolines etc., or anchor these items to the ground.
  • Make sure that propane and other fuel tanks are properly secured.

Additional Claims Resources

Have more questions?

Contact the Consumer Affairs team

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