Wildfire season in California has gotten progressively worse in recent years, lasting longer and growing in severity. It’s increasingly important for homeowners to be proactive about mitigating their wildfire risk to better protect their homes, families and property.
Mercury Insurance now offers wildfire mitigation discounts to California homeowners living in wildfire prone regions. Homeowners who take one or more steps to harden their homes against wildfires or live in a community recognized by the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA) as a Firewise USA® site will be eligible to receive discounts of up to 18%.
“We’re in this together, which is why Mercury is engineering solutions to encourage proactive actions that better protect homeowners from wildfires,” said Jane Li, Mercury Insurance’s director of product management. “It’s important for homeowners in these areas to take proactive steps to help shield their property from fire, and it’s just as important for everyone in the community to work together to reduce their shared ignition risks, which could save them money and improve their insurance eligibility.”
The following are general guidelines on the precautions homeowners can take to mitigate wildfire risk and maximize their property level discount.
Harden your home’s structure by:
- Installing a class “A” fire-rated roof such as concrete or clay tile, composition shingle or metal;
- Using non-combustible or ignition resistant siding, for example, stucco, metal, fiber cement or brick;
- Making sure all windows are multi-paned;
- Covering exterior vents with 1/8-inch or 1/16-inch non-combustible corrosion-resistant metal mesh screens;
- Covering metal gutters with non-combustible corrosion-resistant metal mesh screen or removing all gutters;
- Building or replacing decks, patios, porches, fences, outbuildings and balconies with non-combustible or ignition-resistant materials.
Create defensible space near your home in the 0-5 feet zone by:
- Installing hardscaping, such as pavers or crushed rock;
- Regularly maintaining lawns or low-cut grasses so they stay clean and green;
- Trimming tree branches so they do not overhang the roof;
- Clearing the roof, gutters, decks, porches and ground of tree debris;
- Keeping plants no more than 18 inches in height and are not planted against the home.
Keep going, defensible space must dos for the 5-30 feet zone are:
- Landscaping should be low growing, open structured, less resinous, higher moisture content plants;
- Maintaining trees and taller vegetation so that they’re in healthy and good condition;
- Keeping stationary propane tanks clear of vegetation;
- Cutting lawns and native grasses so that they are no more than 4 inches in height;
- Removing ladder fuels such as bushes under trees;
- Keeping trees trimmed up to 6-10 feet from the ground;
- Spacing trees apart a minimum of 18 feet between crowns.
Extend your defensible space from 30-100 feet zone by:
- Regularly clearing all heavy accumulation of ground litter or debris;
- Removing all dead plants and tree materials;
- Removing small conifers growing between mature trees;
- Clearing all vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings;
- Spacing trees 30-60 feet from the home at least 12 feet apart between canopy tops;
- Spacing trees 60-100 feet from the home at least 6 feet apart between canopy tops.
Mercury’s community level discount is for homes that are located in a NFPA Firewise USA® Recognition Program site, shelter-in-place community or are part of a community with an active annual fuel mitigation program in place. Homeowners can visit the NFPA’s Firewise website to see where recognized sites are located and to learn more about how to participate in the program.