BCAA Insurance helps homeowners fight fire with smart, simple advice

BURNABY, BC, June 2, 2009 – A warm, dry trend with no significant precipitation is setting off a number of fire danger ratings across the province. BCAA Insurance urges all homeowners to safeguard themselves against summer wildfires – especially those interfacing with forests.

As one of the largest providers of home insurance in the province, BCAA saw first hand the devastation that many of its policyholders faced in the 2003 forest fires, which destroyed 334 homes and evacuated over 45,000 people. BCAA Insurance handled more than 220 fire-related insurance claims, including several total losses as a result of these forest fires.

“As important as it is to be armed with home insurance to cover your belongings in a forest fire, most of us would rather not be faced with having to start from scratch,” says Brooke Hanson, BCAA Home Insurance Product Manager. “That’s why it’s so important for homeowners to practice good fire prevention measures now.”

BCAA advises the following smart, simple ways to prevent damage from forest fires:

  • Surround your home with a 10 metre low fuel belt. Clear away any trees, brush, gas/propane tanks and firewood that could add fuel to a fire. Use driveways, lawns and gravel to create a fuel break wherever possible.
  • Rethink your roof. Clear away overhanging trees and combustible debris such as pine needles or other vegetation that could act as fuel for airborne sparks and embers. Planning a new roof? Consider using non-combustible roofing material such as slate, metal, clay or tile – your insurance company may award a premium discount for non-combustible roofing.
  • Be visible in an emergency. Make sure emergency crews can see your address clearly from the road. Be an advocate in your community for visible, fireproof street signs.
  • Be “firesmart” inside your home. Keep one or more fire extinguishers charged and handy. Use a metal container to dispose of hot embers from barbecues.
  • Record your belongings. In the unfortunate event that you suffer a loss, it’s important to have a record of your belongings whether that’s achieved by writing a list, taking photos, or shooting a video of your home. Be sure to keep this record of your belongings in a safe place away from your home, such as a safe deposit box or office.
  • Schedule an insurance check-up. Ensure your policies are accurate, current and provide all the coverage you need. During natural disasters, such as wildfires, insurance companies may have temporary restrictions on taking on new business, making the instant purchase or upgrading of insurance exceptionally difficult.

For questions about home insurance coverage, consult with your local insurance advisor. To report a wildfire, please the B.C. Forest Service on 1-800-663-5555, or (*)5555 from your cellphone.

About BCAA

BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership, automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 793,000 members and $130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA’s products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.