Insurance is wildfire

Aug. 12-MOSES LAKE – Many things can destroy a home, but according to insurance agent Steve Crapson, fire is different.

“You can save a lot of things in water, but you can’t save things in a fire,” Crapson said. “Once it’s burned. It’s gone forever. Those memories, that’s the part of the tree that you can’t get back. The pictures, the charity memorabilia, those kinds of things. They can’t be recreated.”

Crapson, the sole agent of Allstate Insurance, said it is best for homeowners, especially those living in rural areas, on the outskirts of towns, and in high-risk areas far from the immediate response of the fire department, to check for fire hazards. and prevention. than recovery in mind.

In 2021, wildfires burned more than 1.9 million acres in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, according to a press release from the Northwest Insurance Council. Despite the cool and wet 2022 season, this year’s fire season is already upon us.

Commenting on the recent fire near Lind and the ongoing fire on Vantage Highway, the council in a press release advised anyone living in the township area – where wildfires have caused extensive damage to homes – to have an evacuation plan and review their insurance. .

The good news, according to a press release, is that fire damage and loss — including wildfires — is covered under homeowners, renters and business insurance.

The bad news, Crapson said, is that everyone has to make sure their policy is adequate to cover the costs of rebuilding and rates can be high, especially if you’re in a high-risk area.

“Look at your plan and your rebuilding costs,” he said. “Accept this to pay at least 80% of the cost of rebuilding.”

Crapson said he found, in a regular survey of builders, that the average house costs about $200-per-square-foot to build right now. He told of working with a client who had a low income from an insurance company who later found out that the rules were not suitable for rebuilding his existing home.

“Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples,” he said.

Distance from fire stations is also important, Crapson said. Some insurance companies charge higher rates for homes 10 miles or more from a fire station, while others set the maximum risk at 25 miles. In one case, Crapson said, the difference was $4,000 a year for a single homeowner.

There are also landscaping and construction methods that can reduce fire damage, Crapson said. Homes can be built with metal roofing, cement boards and even steel. If possible, windows made of a material other than wood to reduce the risk to the building should be used, Crapson said. Insurance companies that represent them advise policyholders to follow the firewise guidelines of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (www.dnr.wa.gov/firewise), who advise homeowners to create a 100-foot fence around their homes, keeping trash, leaves, and unsanitary weeds, grass clippings, and trees 15 feet apart.

In fact, Crapson said that, the companies that represent them will conduct house inspections as part of the process of writing and planning to see what the home owner can do to reduce the damage caused by fire.

“When we start the process, we have a home inspection,” he said. “About every 10 years a house is reassessed.”

Crapson said many insurance companies advise homeowners when they see a potential accident and offer ways to mitigate the risk. This not only helps the insurance company save money, but also helps the policyholders.

“The fire hazard is called because it’s the second largest area we have in this area next to the wind,” he said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.