7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming
Contact: Carole Walker, Executive Director
303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
Wild Weather Week: A Costly One for Colorado & Wyoming
July 19, 2011 – Mother Nature wrecked havoc along the Front Range and south eastern Wyoming last week—again living up to the region's weather reputation as "hail alley." The hail that cut a swath through Colorado on Wednesday was accompanied by monsoonal rainfall that flooded streets and property on a daily basis. Cheyenne was ground zero for golf and tennis ball-sized hail on Monday evening that pounded vehicles and homes.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reports the insured damage to cars and homes in Colorado from last week's storms is estimated at $164.8 million as the result of approximately 29,800 claims—17,200 auto claims and 12,600 homeowners claims. The lion's share of the insured damage was due to the widespread hail that fell on Wednesday south from Fountain through the Denver metro area hitting Lakewood the hardest, along with significant damage reported in Loveland and Fort Collins.
The large hail that rained down on Cheyenne Monday evening is estimated to have an insurance price tag of $120 million resulting from approximately 19,800 claims—15,200 auto claims and 4,600 homeowners claims. These are preliminary estimates and are subject to change as the claims process continues.
Fortunately, homeowners insurance covers damage from wind and hail, and damage to vehicles from hail and flooding is covered if you carry comprehensive insurance on your auto policy. Some carriers have set up emergency drive up claims centers in the hardest hit areas to help speed up the claims process and take care of customers.
"Mother Nature reminded us last week that severe weather season is still in full swing in the Rocky Mountain Region," says Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "It's important for all of us to be talking to our insurance representatives to make sure we are protected and have the coverage we need—especially during these peak months for catastrophic weather."
How to file an auto claim:
How to file a property claim:
Claims Filing Advice:
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association has this advice for affected residents filing claims for damage.
- Be prepared to give your agent or insurance representative a description of any damage. Your agent will report the loss immediately to your insurance company or a qualified adjuster. Some companies also have 24-hour, 800 numbers for claims assistance.
- Take photos of damage. These will help with your claims process and will assist the adjuster in the investigation.
- Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Be sure to make two copies—one for yourself and one for the adjuster. Your list should be as complete as possible, including descriptions of the items, dates of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated replacement cost.
- Make whatever temporary repairs you can. Cover broken windows, damaged roofs and walls to prevent further destruction. Save receipts for supplies and materials you purchase. Your company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs.
- Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs to your home from a reliable contractor and give it to the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs, repair costs and replacement prices.
- Serious losses will be given priority. If your home has been destroyed or seriously damaged, your agent will do everything possible to assure that you are given priority.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor:
Hiring a reputable contractor to do repairs or construct a new home is critical. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to choose a contractor. Also check with the area Better Business Bureau. Make certain they are licensed and have adequate insurance coverage.
Don't become a victim of disaster fraud. After a natural disaster, professionals often go from door-to-door in damaged neighborhoods, offering clean up or repair services. Many of these business people are reputable. Others are not. The dishonest ones may pocket payment without completing the job or use inferior materials and perform shoddy work not up to code.
- Get more than one estimate. Don't be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, materials, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.
- Demand references and check them out.
- Ask to see the salesperson's driver's license and write down the license number and license plate number.
- Ask for proof that the contractor is bonded, carries liability insurance, and covers his/her workers with workers compensation insurance.
- The contractor's business card should have a verifiable street address and office phone number.
- Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished. Request a lien waiver indicating the contractor has paid its subcontractors and suppliers.
- Insurance coverage may be rendered void if intentional misrepresentation by a policyholder is discovered.
- If you believe you have been approached by an unlicensed contractor or adjuster, or have been encouraged to fabricate an insurance claim, contact your insurance company or call the National Insurance Crime Bureau Hotline at 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).
Log on to www.rmiia.org for more information.
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.