7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming
Carole Walker, Executive Director
303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
Insurance Claim Settlement Advice for El Paso County Homeowners as Residents & Insurance Adjusters Gain Access to the Burn Areas in Black Forest.
June 21, 2013 – The 2013 Wildfire Season has already taken a devastating toll on Colorado residents, burning a record number of homes and personal property. With the containment of the Black Forest Fire insurance adjusters are now on site inspecting properties and working with residents who will have questions about the claims settlement process. The claims will range from minor smoke damage to personal property, additional living expenses, vehicles and destroyed homes.
"The 2013 Wildfire Season is yet another heartbreaking reminder to Coloradans that the wildfire threat is very real in our state and can exact a price that is both personally devastating and costly in terms of insurance damage," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "Insurance catastrophe adjusters have been on the ground in our state since the fire started, and the industry is prepared to help impacted residents recover and communities rebuild. The industry has many resources available to help Coloradans work through the claims settlement process."
Insured loss estimates for the Black Forest Fire will be compiled in the coming weeks as adjusters continue working with the hundreds of impacted homeowners. With next week being the one-year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire, previously Colorado's most devastating and costly wildfire, there is at least hope for homeowners who are just beginning the road to recovery. RMIIA has updated insured damage estimates for both the Waldo Canyon and High Park Fires which now stand at a combined total of $567.4 million from approximately 7,941 homeowner and auto claims (previous combined insured losses: $449.7 million). The Waldo Canyon Fire is currently Colorado's most expensive wildfire with 6,648 claims adding up to $453.7 million (previous estimate: $352.6 million from approximately 4,300 claims). The High Park Fire insured loss estimate now stands at $113.7 million from approximately 1,293 homeowner and auto claims (previous estimate: $97.1 million from approximately 850 claims).
Wildfire & Insurance Background:
Residents with homeowners insurance have coverage under the policy limits to repair and rebuild the structure of their home, replace their personal belongings and additional living expenses if they need to live elsewhere while their home is being repaired or rebuilt. Make sure you are working with your insurance company's adjuster (that's who your contract is with) and a reputable contractor. Cars that are damaged or destroyed are covered under the optional comprehensive portion of your auto policy. Renters insurance pays to replace personal belongings up to the policy limits.
Keep in mind that it is a process that needs to be worked through step-by-step, but there is plenty of assistance available to you through your insurance company and other financial service providers.
Insurance Claims Settlement Advice:
Download RMIIA's Homeowners Insurance Claim Settlement Guide:
After the Fire: Your Step-by-Step Home Insurance Claim Recovery Guide
Tips for Selecting a Reputable Contractor
Don't become a victim of disaster fraud. After a headline capturing fire or 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).
For more consumer information on insurance topics, logon to www.rmiia.org.
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.