Whether you are evacuating or returning to your home, it is now time to consider insurance issues.
Colorado fires broke out across the state in recent months as thousands of Coloradoans were forced to evacuate Cameron Peak, CalWood, Lefthand Canyon and East Troublesome Firesome. With blazing fires in our state, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) and the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association (RMIA) share insurance advice on evacuation, claims and financial preparedness.
On top of the practical tips below, here are three important reminders for our fellow Coloradans, whether they have been evacuated, are under an evacuation warning or who may have already suffered some form of loss due to a wildfire.
- Know Your Politics – If you do not & # 39; Do not have a copy of your insurance, contact your agent or company and request it.
- Keep your receipts – If you are evacuated or relocated for a period of time, be sure to keep copies of all restaurants, hotels and other living expenses incurred so that you cannot go home.
- Contact your insurance agent with questions and issues – After submitting your application, insurance agents can assist consumers with questions about insurance and the damages process. "Until the colder months, forest fires continue to threaten many Colorado communities, as the past weekend has shown," said Michael Conway, Colorado Insurance Commissioner . “And without a doubt, insurance will play out when property is damaged. We offer these tips and advice to help people start thinking about insurance processes sooner rather than later. "
" For residents affected by Colorado fires, it is crucial to understand the role of their insurance in evacuations. and claims settlements, " said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association. "Always ensure safety first, but COVID-19 health precautions can cause further concern about where to go, what to do, and how claims are handled before, during, and after a wildfire."
Advice on Evacuation of Insurance and Claims
If you are under a mandatory evacuation order, this is what you need to know about putting security first, maintaining COVID-19 health precautions and what you can do expect your insurance coverage and claims
- New COVID-19 challenges can affect evacuation coverage, housing availability and damage use. First of all, if you are ordered to evacuate, you must leave your home immediately. Listen to orders from local authorities.
- Contact your insurance agent or company immediately to let them know where you live and to help you with coverage or damage issues. They can also help you with accommodation options.
- Most insurances cover additional housing costs if you are under mandatory evacuation and cannot live in your house or apartment due to fire or other covered danger. Most insurance policies reimburse you for the difference between your extra living expenses and your normal living expenses, but insurance policies have set limits on the amount they will pay and may be deductible. Additional living expenses can also give you some money of your own when you are forced out of your home. Ask your insurer what coverage you have and keep receipts for reimbursable expenses if you file a claim. options such as family or friends, local hotels, shelters, insurance assistance with accommodation and pet protection.
- Take photos or videos of personal belongings, especially antiques, artwork or custom / expensive items. Or if you have the time, make a more complete home inventory that lists or has pictures or videos of the contents of your home or apartment. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but most insurance companies now have apps to simplify the process. You can add digital photos and scan receipts along with your room-by-room online inventory. But only do these things if you have plenty of time – put safety first.
Return home after fire
- Do not delay – When the danger has passed, if your property has been damaged by fire and / or smoke, do not wait – start the damage process by calling your insurance company or agent . Contact DOI if you need the contact information for your company or agent.
- Document / mitigate the damage – If the damage to your home is extensive, start taking pictures of the property and document what has been lost. Protect against further damage by placing tarpaulins on roofs or boarding windows, but do not start repairing without contacting your insurance company.
- Damage agreements in the time of COVID-19 – Insurance companies have introduced security procedures that address COVID-19 is about providing virtual property and inspection opportunities whenever possible in the damages process. If an on-site inspection is required, the adjusters are trained in proper safety precautions, including wearing masks, social distancing, and following CDC guidelines.
- Verifying Public Adjusters – After a catastrophic fire, public adjusters can contact you if you have been damaged in your home. You are not required to hire a public adjuster, but if you do, make sure he or she is licensed and reputable – check references. If possible, employ a Colorado-based adjustment. DOI licenses public adjusters and consumers can call the department to verify a license. Public adjusters work on behalf of a consumer and often charge a percentage of the amount of damages. The fee is agreed in the agreement between the public adjuster and the consumer. This cost is not included in the amount of damage that the insurer pays.
- Flood Insurance – Now it's time to start thinking about flood insurance. Areas affected by forest fires are exposed to a greater threat of floods and sludge landslides due to loss of vegetation. And the threat can last for many years as the area slowly recovers. Find information on Flood Insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at floodsmart.gov, a FEMA website, or call Bolder Insurance at 303-449-9595.
Content from DORA, visit dora.colorado.gov for more information.