The Rising Cost of “Preservation and Protection” By Jerry Smith
Director of Environmental Affairs – United Four Wheel Drive Associations
Let’s say you are fortunate enough to live in or near one of our National Forests. Outside your home is the little piece of heaven that you worked so hard to afford. The tall trees sing their lungs out each evening as the variable cool breeze bends them into a swaying rhythm. Sunsets from your patio are something you live for each evening while you grill your main dish for dinner. How could life be any better? Having feasted on your BBQ chicken, you finally get around to opening the days mail. It’s the usual… an electric bill, a credit card offer, and your property insurance company has sent you notice that your donation this year will be double what it was last year. WHAT?? How can my property insurance have doubled in one year? That’s got to be a huge mistake!! The letter explains about the high cost of losses the insurance industry is suffering from homes like yours are being burned to the ground in wildfires in our National Forests and other rural settings. Your home is now regarded as being in an extremely high-risk fire area. What once was considered a lovely, secluded home in the tall timber is now seen as an open box of matches waiting for a spark. This scenario is becoming more common around the country. Property insurance in some areas is nearly impossible to afford… that is IF you can even get a quote!!
This lack of insurance availability affects more than just your homeowner insurance. If you were to be looking to buy a home in such an area, what is one of the requirements of receiving a mortgage? That’s right… you MUST keep the home insured to cover the cost of rebuilding in case of a natural disaster such as fire. Otherwise, you can’t get a loan in the first place. If you can’t get a loan to buy a home in certain areas, how does that affect the value of an existing home? Whoa!! Can you say CHEAP? Now your pride and joy home in the woods isn’t worth the money you paid for it just a few years ago. How can this be?? What happened that caused all of this? There are several reasons. Some are valid, some are just smoke distorting the view. One of the more prevalent arguments you hear often is “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”. How does a changing climate affect your home’s value and insurability? That answer is in the “smoky” category. Climate change no doubt has some affect, but the definition of “climate change” in the context of the current political scene is not likely going to make much of an impact. Drought is another one of the arguments you’ll hear often. Yes, drought is a definite factor.
The magazine of United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc., an international organization aiming to protect and provide 4x4 opportunities wor...