Comprehensive insurance coverage is finding its way into the transactional conversation as more people are looking to buy and sell in the rural land market. Often these properties are located far from town and in coveted habitats boasting trees, privacy, and wildlife. Without a doubt, these properties are worth investing in and enjoying. And as with anything, knowledge is key and as wildfires increase in frequency and number, insurance companies are taking note of high-risk fire areas and revisiting coverage plans.
We recently had the opportunity to visit with Kevin Peterson of Mountainview Insurance to provide some insight into how this is playing out with the buying and selling of property. Throughout an insurance discovery process, it will help to have an insurance agent on your side willing to do the legwork and put in the time to find the coverage you need. To do that, communication with landowners and often the real estate agent is key as working knowledge of the property is vital to fill-out paperwork and provide accurate descriptions of the physical property.
One of the initial indicators is how far a property is from a fire response team. Ideally, insurance companies are looking for a home to be within 15 minutes of a fire station which is often not the case for rural farms and ranches. Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done to help keep or obtain new coverage.
- The top priority is keeping an area cleared of brush, tall grasses, and overhanging branches between the tree line and all buildings on the property.
- Avoid roofing with wood shakes. A leading cause of homes catching fire is floating embers landing on roofs. When building keep in mind the materials being used and whether you’re in a high-risk fire area.
- Install a water shut-off and fire alarm system that will contact emergency personnel directly.
- Keep and maintain a fire truck for the property within a heated storage building.
- Water on the property that can be accessed to help stop a fire may also be of help.
Your insurance agent will want to share a story of your property and what you’re doing to protect it. If you’re looking to sell, it’s a good idea to keep insurance in mind and provide a timeframe of 45-60 days within the due diligence process if new property insurance coverage needs to be obtained by the buyer.