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Did You Know? Stricter Homeowner Insurance Requirements On The Horizon

Posted by Breckenridge Associates Real Estate on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 at 10:50am.

Colorado is in the midst of wildfire season. Between the High Park, Waldo Creek and the Last Chance Fires, over 600 structures have been destroyed. Getting homeowners insurance may be more difficult for those with homes nestled in the forests. The recent wildfires have insurance companies seeking strategies to protect homes and reduce further losses. A long term build-up of woody fuels and recent hot, dry weather are contributing factors to the erratic fire behavior.

Insurance industry response to the extreme wildfire season is a stricter enforcement of their defensible space rules. At this time, no homeowners insurance will be issued without a physical inspection and a defensible space plan for removing trees. This has put a kink in closings causing stress for both the seller and the buyer.

Defensible space is simply an area around your home where fuels are modified and  maintained in a manner that allows firefighters to work more effectively and in less danger. The defensible space is divided into zones:

Zone 1 is 15-20 feet from the building projections. In this area all fuels such as wood piles and dry grass/weeds should be removed. Branches reaching over the house should be pruned and crowns should be elevated to eliminate the ladder fuels close to the structure.

Zone 2 is between 30 and 75 feet from the house. The area may be larger depending upon slope. In this area, fuel volumes should be reduced both from the ground up and between trees and shrubs. Typically this involves elevating crowns by removing both dead and live branches, removing concentrations of live and dead fuels, and thinning trees to create space between crowns.

Zone 3 is beyond 75 feet from the house. In this area standard forest management practices are applied including thinning and the removal of dead and defective trees.

If you have a home on the market you can be proactive by reducing fuels around the house before a contract is offered. Not only will you limit the chance of delaying closing while waiting for the insurance company, you can use the opportunity to improve the appearance and curb appeal for your home.

For more information about defensible space, contact your local Breckenridge Associates Real Estate Broker/Partner, or visit the 'A Cut Above' website at www.acutaboveforestry.com.

Please contact Breckenridge Associates Real Estate to learn more about real estate in Breckenridge and Summit County, Colorado. 800.774.7970 or 970.453.2200. Click here for the latest news about Breckenridge Real Estate.

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