Column: Home fire mitigation can save you money
Ryan Summerlin September 26, 2013
To the Editor:
Thanks to Schelly Olson, Shannan Stensvad and Josh Fleischer from Granby Fire; Ron Cousineau, district forester from the Colorado State Forest Service; my homeowner’s insurance agent; and Shawn Bruton for a most interesting get together recently.
Here’s why: My homeowner’s insurance sent an inspector to view my property and report on whether it was fire mitigated. My agent told me I was randomly selected. Although I wasn’t happy about it, I had heard longer than a year ago that insurance companies, motivated by the numerous wildfires, were going to be doing these inspections more often.
The inspection happened without my participation. I received a call from my agent informing me that my property had issues and he wanted to come inspect it himself and discuss things with me. In our phone conversation, I mentioned to him that firefighters had looked at my property last fall and said it was good. He suggested I ask them for a letter. When I contacted Ms. Olson, she said they would come out when the agent was here.
Imagine my agent’s surprise when he pulled into my driveway followed by a Granby Fire truck and a Colorado State Forest Service pickup truck with these professionals. After introductions, exchange of questions and ideas, a tour of my property took place.
Mr. Cousineau pointed out the positives of smooth siding, rock landscaping around my home and garage, and cleared areas. His one negative observation was the juniper bushes, and he volunteered everyone’s help to remove them before leaving. To my amazement, that’s what they did.
One of the requirements in the report was that I had to clear 200 feet from my home; however, that was way beyond my property line on one side.
The fire professionals recommended the insurance company change that requirement for other inspections to say up to 200 feet or to the property line.
My agent said a re-inspection would have to take place. But after returning to his office and sharing his experience, a re-inspection was not necessary and my homeowner’s insurance will remain the same.
It happened to me, and it could happen to you if you own property in Grand County.
Don’t get caught unprepared.
Make your property fire safe now. Check with your fire department for a list of recommendations and make it happen.