The California Department of Insurance has approved a filing by USAA to give homeowners insurance discounts to USAA members living in communities recognized by the Firewise Communities/USA® program. This discount applies to policies issuing or renewing on or after October 1st 2014.
What is USAA?
USAA provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 10.3 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio.
What is Firewise Communities/USA®?
The national Firewise Communities/USA recognition program is administered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and provides a 5-step template for wildfire safety at the neighborhood level. Participating communities follow these guidelines to achieve initial recognition and then commit to annual activities to maintain this status.
What is the discount?
To reward USAA members and encourage more residents of wildfire risk areas to take safety steps, USAA is providing a 5% discount on the homeowner’s insurance premium of its members who live in communities recognized by the Firewise Communities/USA program in California.
How do I become eligible for the discount?
USAA members living in a recognized community with a USAA California homeowner’s policy will automatically receive the discount when their policy renews on or after October 1st, 2014. USAA has partnered with Firewise to automatically determine if a home is in a recognized community. The Firewise website has a list of the recognized communities. Residents need to know the name of their subdivision or community. New USAA policies for homes in recognized communites also qualify for the discount. If your community is not a recognized community, the Firewise website provides information on how to start the recognition process. If you are a USAA member living in California, you must reside within the boundaries of a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site to qualify for the discount. You can check your community’s status by reviewing this map and you also may speak to a USAA representative to find out if you qualify.
I’m not a USAA member. Does my insurance company provide this discount?
To date, USAA is the first large insurance company to provide a specific discount to residents of Firewise Communities/USA sites. You can speak with your insurance agent to find out if your insurer offers any discounts or other incentives for wildfire safety. California residents that are not USAA members should contact their insurance company regarding any wildfire discounts or other safety programs.
Is USAA going to make this discount available to its members who live in other states?
USAA intends to pursue this discount for its members living in states with significant wildfire risks. To do so, the company must file for a rate change with each state’s Department of Insurance for approval or notification. When those filings take place they are typically a matter of public record and NFPA will be keeping its website up to date on this topic.
I’ve done Firewise mitigation work on my home, does that make me eligible for a discount?
Congratulations on taking steps to better protect your home. USAA believes community-level action is important and provides the discount to members in participating Firewise communities to reward actions taken at the community level, rather than singling out individual properties. USAA offers other wildfire related products and services to its members; please contact USAA for more information. If you have done work on your property, and would like to significantly reduce the risk of wildfire loss in your community, please talk to your neighbors about joining with you to start the Firewise recognition process.
Why is the discount for Firewise instead of other programs?
The Firewise Communities/USA recognition program has national scope and consistent criteria for recognition. NFPA has collected and maintained data on all participating communities since 2002, including data that specifies the exact location boundaries for each community. USAA’s research also found a favorable difference in loss experience for members who live in Firewise communities in California. USAA chose the NFPA/Firewise based on their expertise and experience in the community wildfire prevention and feels its program best aligns with its wildfire strategy.
Other Firewise and USAA related resources