Brush/Wildfire Rating

The FAIR Plan insures both Dwelling and Commercial properties located in brush/wildfire areas. Due to the increased risk of loss, properties in brush/wildfire areas may receive a premium higher than one for a property in an urban, non brush/wildfire area.

This increased risk of loss is included in the overall premium for Dwelling policies.

Commercial Bush/Wildfire Rating Program

Commercial brush/wildfire charges are based on the insured value of the property as well as the distance of the brush/wildfire fuel base to the insured property, fire protection of the area and roof type. The rates are based on each $100 of insurance, in addition to the base policy premium.

A physical inspection of the subject property will determine whether a brush/wildfire charge will be applied. The cutback of trees or native brush surrounding the property can decrease or eliminate any brush/wildfire charge.

Commercial New Business

The FAIR Plan determines the brush/wildfire charge on all Commercial new business submissions based on various rating factors. A brush/wildfire inspection will be required unless we have current rating information from a recent inspection on file. The applicant is not notified unless the inspection company representative cannot observe the distance of the brush/wildfire exposure to all structures at risk. The inspector must review the entire perimeter of the property to determine the distance to the brush/wildfire exposure, and all structures that may be impacted.

Commercial property owners who are subject to a brush/wildfire charge will be given sufficient time to clear the brush/wildfire exposure before an endorsement is issued and additional premiums are imposed.

  • If the Brush/Wildfire Advisory letter is sent within the first 60 days of the policy period, the insured will have 90 days from the date of the letter to clear the brush/wildfire exposure before an endorsement billing is issued. Fifty per cent of the additional premium must be paid to avoid Notice of Cancellation for non payment of premium.
  • If the Brush/Wildfire Advisory letter is sent after the first 60 days of the policy period, the insured will have until the renewal date to clear the brush/wildfire exposure. If clearing is not secured, the renewal will be sent with the appropriate brush/wildfire charge.

Commercial Renewal Business

All in-force Commercial policies covering properties in a potential brush/wildfire area will be inspected every five years. The purpose is to determine whether the rate currently charged (if any) is appropriate for the current brush/wildfire exposure.

If an exposure exists, the insured is typically notified at least six months in advance of the renewal date that a brush/wildfire exposure exists to provide ample time to clear the exposure. If clearing is not secured, the renewal will include the appropriate brush/wildfire charge.

Brush/Wildfire Measurements

  • Measurement is made parallel to the ground from that portion of the structure closest to the brush/wildfire exposure.
  • If the brush/wildfire exposure is on a down slope below the structure of over 30 degrees, only half the measured distance will be counted. For example, if the brush/wildfire exposure distance from the top of the slope is 300 feet, the brush/wildfire exposure distance will be counted as 150 feet to meet the minimum clearance requirements.
  • Brush/Wildfire clearance is defined as follows: The exposure is thinned and cut to no more than 12 inches off the ground, and, in the case of trees, trimmed up 6 feet off the ground (or one third of the tree height if the tree is less than 18 feet tall). In addition, tree branches must be trimmed to provide a 10 foot clearance to the roof line.
  • Brush/wildfire charges are applicable even if the brush/wildfire exposure is not on the same lot (property) as the building to be insured.

Brush/Wildfire Charges

The brush/wildfire charge varies according to the Protection Class of the covered property and the shortest distance from any structure on a covered property to the nearest part of the brush/wildfire exposure. Your insurance broker can advise the Protection Class of a specific property.

Brush/wildfire charges will apply until the brush/wildfire exposure has been cleared to 200 feet.

Changes to Brush/Wildfire Charge

If the brush/wildfire fuel base has been cleared and the insured wishes to have the brush charge eliminated or modified, a written request for inspection must be sent to the California FAIR Plan including the following information:

  • Policy number and address of the property
  • The name and phone number of the person to be contacted to arrange for the reinspection if the insured or their representative wishes to be present during the reinspection
  • E-mail to, Fax to (213) 252-8084, or mail to California FAIR Plan, P.O. Box 76924, Los Angeles, CA 90076

Brush/Wildfire Exposures on Adjacent Properties

California Insurance Code (Section 10100.2) states that, “If the FAIR Plan policy of a property owner would be subject to a surcharge solely because of an adjacent property owner’s failure to comply with the applicable law, ordinances, and regulations regarding brush clearance requirements, the surcharge shall instead be imposed on the policy of the adjacent property owner if the adjacent property owner is also insured through the FAIR Plan.”

Commercial policyholders may provide us with the names and addresses of the adjacent property owners (if there are structures on their lots) so that we can determine if these properties are insured with the FAIR Plan. If the properties are not insured with the FAIR Plan, then the original policyholder is responsible for the brush/wildfire charge.

An authorization form to release a copy of the inspection report must be completed, signed, and sent by the policyholder to the FAIR Plan in order to determine if adjacent properties are insured with the FAIR Plan. The policyholder’s name and policy number will be deleted from the brush/wildfire inspection report before it is submitted to neighboring property owners.

The adjacent property owner will receive a copy of the insured’s brush/wildfire inspection and be advised that the neighbor’s brush/wildfire premium will be added to the adjacent property owner’s policy. The adjacent property owner will be given 90 days to clear the exposure (unless it is a future renewal date). On the 91st day, any premium will be added to the adjacent property owner’s policy unless we are notified that the brush/wildfire exposure has been cleared prior to that date. This added premium will be shared equally among as many adjacent property owners as are insured by the FAIR Plan and whose properties are causing the surcharge.