July 22, 2009 – With the provincial fire danger rated as “High” or “Extreme” in many parts of BC, BCAA Insurance is urging homeowners to take a few precautions to reduce their fire exposure and safeguard their homes. As one of the largest providers of home insurance in the province, BCAA says while insurance is crucial, a little prevention can go a long way in avoiding being inconvenienced or suffering a fire loss. BCAA advises the following smart, simple ways to prevent damage from 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.
- Grill or barbecue safely. If using a gas or propane grill, insure it is functioning properly and free of cracks or leaks. Always keep the lid open when lighting. Position it away from windows or combustible materials. If using a charcoal grill, dispose of hot embers in a metal container.
- Be “firesmart” inside your home. Keep one or more fire extinguishers charged and handy. Use a metal container to dispose of hot embers from a fireplace or a barbecue grill.
- 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. Make sure recent renovations and additions are reflected in your coverage. During natural disasters, such as wildfires, insurance companies may place temporary restrictions on accepting new business, making the instant purchase or upgrading of insurance exceptionally difficult.
- Don’t let occasional-use vehicles sit uninsured. It’s smart to keep recreational and other occasional-use vehicles (e.g. boats, RVs, collectible cars) insured at all times, not only so they can be moved quickly in the event of a wildfire evacuation, but also so they are protected against year-round threats such as hail, arson or vandalism.
BCAA Insurance is one of the largest providers of home, auto, travel medical and life insurance in B.C. BCAA insures over 115,000 homes and 195,000 vehicles in the province. Each year, BCAA sells more travel insurance than any other provider in B.C. To learn more about the products and services offered by BCAA Insurance, visit www.bcaa.com.