Homeowners Insurance Defensive Role in Nov. Firestorms
January 4, 2019 | Saige Hartman

In fact, at year’s end, The Wall Street Journal posted a video that explored a little-known service that exists to address that concern: private firefighters.
It turns out that some homeowners insurance companies who cover the mansions most exposed to wildfires contract with private companies to protect their investment. One such company is Capstone Fire & Safety Management. The Journal sent a reporter to ride along with a Capstone private firefighting unit as they visited Ventura County properties threatened in last November’s maelstrom. For the “pricey mansions” covered by their risk mitigation service, they assessed the oncoming danger and responded accordingly. That meant anything from simply checking in with homeowners to moving flammable objects away from structures. In extreme situations, they were prepared to spray fire-retardant foam on exposed areas.
In action, the service is limited in significant ways. Private personnel must keep in touch with their public counterparts to guarantee they do not slow down public firefighting efforts. In fact, private firefighters cannot enter any area that’s under an evacuation order. Even so, the service is not without controversy. “It does not seem fair,” one observer says, “that a wealthy person’s home could be saved over a lower-income person’s…”
The Journal’s report leaves that question unresolved—except for a spokesman’s closing observation. “In catastrophic situations,” he says, “I think the Capstone guys will do the right thing.” Since most of their personnel are retired from public departments, that seems likely.
You don’t have to live in wildfire country (or be a member of the jet set) to recognize that the cost of sufficient homeowners insurance belongs in every Boise real estate budget. Call me when it’s time to get started planning your next Boise real estate move!
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