Before You Apply
What is Wildfire Prepared Home™?
Wildfire Prepared Home is a designation program that enables homeowners to take preventative measures for their home and yard to protect against wildfire.
Is my home eligible?
- The applicant must be the owner of the 3-story or less, single-family home.
- The home must be located in California.
- A 5-foot noncombustible buffer must surround the home.
- Designation certificate requirements are stringent. Tree requirements may disqualify some homes, and some homeowners may have to work with neighbor(s) to meet the requirements.
- If your state isn’t participating at this time, you can still benefit from the actions required by this program. Please see our How-to Prepare My Home for Inspection Checklist to learn about scientifically proven ways to lower your wildfire risk.
What is the 5-foot buffer requirement?
One of the most stringent required actions is creating a 5-foot noncombustible buffer around your home and decks. ALL vegetation, trees including overhanging branches, grass/turf, wood/rubber mulch, wood/vinyl fencing, and any stored items within 5 feet of your home must have been removed. Your home will not receive the designation certificate without meeting the requirements.
Yes, we really mean ALL vegetation and trees must be removed within 5 feet of any exterior wall of your home and decks/covered porches.
I like plants and trees against my home. Why do I need a 5-foot buffer?
During a wildfire, embers travel miles ahead of a fire front and accumulate at the base of home’s exterior walls and out to 5 feet. Anything combustible such as vegetation, mulch, and fences in this critical zone will ignite, creating a pathway for flames spreading to your home. Trees or branches that overhang this 5-foot zone drop debris constantly, making maintenance almost impossible. Depending on the species of tree, when ignited they can also lead flames to the home if they are in this close proximity.
How do I prepare my home before I apply so I can pass the inspection?
This How-to Prepare My Home for Inspection Checklist will guide you through required actions to help protect your home and receive a designation certificate.
Are there options for my home to achieve a certificate?
We offer two solutions. To receive a designation certificate, your home must meet all requirements listed for the desired level.
- Wildfire Prepared Home Base — This group of required actions includes creating a 5-foot home buffer, preparing the home’s exterior, and maintaining the deck/covered porch and yard, typically achieved through retrofits to existing homes.
- Wildfire Prepared Home Plus — This group of required actions builds upon Wildfire Prepared Home Base to add an extra layer of home protection, commonly achieved with newer home construction or after exterior home renovations.
How can I learn more about the program?
Visit the about page to learn more.
When my home gets a designation certificate, do I get a discount on my homeowner insurance? What are other benefits?
- With wildfires becoming more frequent and happening anywhere, this program’s goal is to help homeowners take preventative measures to protect their home against wildfires.
- A 2022 California Department of Insurance (CDI) regulation requires insurers to offer discounts for wildfire mitigation actions. While many insurers in the state have filed new rating plans with CDI reflecting this requirement, these rating plans must be reviewed and approved by CDI before going into effect. This regulatory process is still underway. We anticipate that a Wildfire Prepared Home designation certificate may be used by some insurers to determine whether a homeowner has undertaken the wildfire mitigation actions associated with discounts.
- If you are trying to sell your home, this certificate may be a big selling point to a buyer who may be looking for home insurance before closing.
How long is the certificate good for? Do I have to get my home certified each year?
The designation certificate is good for 3 years. Within that three-year period, there is a required annual landscape review because plants grow, and maintenance of the yard is imperative to reduce wildfire risk. After 3 years, a recertification with a full physical inspection is required.
How much does this cost?
- The application fee is a nonrefundable $125 and is used to cover administrative processing costs.
- Once a designation certificate has been issued, an annual maintenance review is required. This ensures vegetation doesn’t creep into the 5-foot noncombustible buffer and crucial upkeep of vegetation is maintained within 5-30 feet.
- We offer 2 solutions:
- Self-inspection with photos provided by the homeowner is $25.
- 3rd party exterior home inspection is $100.
- We offer 2 solutions:
- After 3 years, recertification is required to keep the designation certificate active. Homeowners can use their portal log in to apply for a new home inspection to verify program requirements have been maintained.
How do I get started?
Step 1: Use the How-to Prepare My Home for Inspection Checklist to ensure you complete all required actions before you apply for an inspection; otherwise, you will not receive a designation certificate.
Step 2: Optional: Take the free online quiz to ensure you haven’t missed any actions and to see if your home qualifies for inspection.
Step 3: Apply and pay for an exterior home inspection once all required actions have been taken.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to apply and pay. What if I missed something?
Take the free online quiz before you pay for the inspection. This will help you review all the requirements and let you know if you are ready to apply at the end. You can take the quiz as many times as you’d like before applying.
After You Apply
What happens if I’ve paid and my home doesn't pass the inspection? Do I have to pay again?
If the home doesn’t pass the inspection, we work with homeowners to continue the progress. Homeowners will be asked to document their progress and send several photos of corrective work they have done for a second review. If no progress has been made within 90 days, the home will not be designated, and the homeowner will need to reapply.
How long does it take for someone to come and inspect my home?
The timeline varies depending on several factors, location, how many are in the queue, how many inspectors are in a specific area, etc. Applications are sent to a 3rd party inspection company, and they try to complete them as quickly as possible. Typically, inspections occur within 30 days or within 4-6 weeks for more rural areas. We cannot provide a date the inspection will occur.
This is time sensitive for my homeowner's insurance, can I rush my inspection?
- We do not have an expedited option. If your application is time-sensitive, the most important step you can take is completing the required work on your home and yard. See the How-to Prepare My Home for Inspection Checklist.
- Keep your insurance agent informed on your progress.
My house was inspected, and photos were taken last week. When do I get my certificate?
Please be patient. All documents go through a thorough quality review process. We will email you with any revisions that may be needed or let you know that you’ve received a designation certificate.
How will I know if my home has achieved a designation certificate?
Once your home has been designated, you will receive an email with a link to download your certificate. You can always login to your account to download the certificate from there.
Is there a phone number I can contact to answer questions I have regarding this program?
We do not have a call center. The contact us form and email is the best way to communicate with the team. Please place questions in this contact us form and someone will respond.
Trademark Usage and Licensing
I am a vendor and would like to reference Wildfire Prepared Home in my marketing material. How do I get started?
Wildfire mitigation vendors interested in referencing Wildfire Prepared Home or using the Wildfire Prepared Home logo in marketing materials should submit a Trademark Licensing Application. Trademark Licensing Applications will only be considered from vendors who provide products or services that help with meeting the Wildfire Prepared Home Base and Wildfire Prepared Home Plus standard. Upon completion of the request, someone will reach out to you within two weeks. Submission of this request does not constitute a licensing agreement. IBHS retains the exclusive right to approve or deny any request to use its trademarks.
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