As so many of our neighbors, clients and friends have been tragically affected by fires, floods, and hailstorms over the last few years, we want to acknowledge the loss and grief associated with these experiences and know that SilverPeak Wealth supports you and our community. We are a resource for any questions you may have.
Colorado is experiencing a “new normal” as it now ranks second in the nation for homeowners’ insurance catastrophe claims. This is a result of what Coloradans have lived through in recent years—season after season of widespread damaging hailstorms and the state’s most destructive wildfires. Since this volatile trend of catastrophic insured losses is unprecedented, it requires homeowners to better understand how this is impacting Colorado’s insurance marketplace and what steps they can take to protect their finances and property. http://www.rmiia.org/homeowners/CO_market.asp
Specific lists to refer to:
- What To Do in a Catastrophe
Residents evacuated from their homes should contact their insurance agents or companies immediately and let them know where they can be reached. As adjusters are allowed into impacted areas, they will want to go in with their policyholders to access the extent of the damage. In the event of a catastrophe situation, many insurance companies set up 24-hour emergency hotlines.
Company claims adjusters, many equipped with laptop computers and portable phones, will start writing checks to pay the cost of temporary living expenses for people left homeless by catastrophes and to begin the rebuilding of damaged homes. Some companies will open special claims centers to assist their policyholders. Contact your agent or company if you need additional living expenses while you are out of your home.
Out-of-pocket expenses during a mandatory evacuation are reimbursable under most standard homeowner policies.
Be prepared to give your agent or insurance representative a description of your damage.
Your agent will report the loss immediately to your insurance company or a qualified adjuster who will contact you as soon as possible to inspect the damage. Again, be sure to give your agent a number where you can be reached.
Take photos of the damaged areas.
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 a description 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 reputable 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.
- II) Homeowners Insurance Basics
Some two-thirds of fire victims typically are underinsured, according to surveys by United Policyholders, a national nonprofit consumer-advocacy group based in California. A survey of people affected by wildfire in 2020 in Colorado’s Grand and Larimer counties revealed shortages often amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A major cause is the difficulty for homeowners in determining how much coverage they need, said Daniel Schwarcz, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who has studied homeowners’ insurance. Part of the problem is that consumers have wide choice, and many opt for cheaper policies to hold down their annual premiums.
Insurance is something most people don’t even want to think about until they need it the most. But, understanding what is and isn’t covered in your homeowners insurance policy can mean the difference of being able to rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings. Homeowners need to do annual insurance policy “check ups” to make sure they keep up with local building costs, home remodeling and inventories of their personal belongings.
The typical homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage resulting from fire, windstorm, hail, water damage (excluding flooding), riots and explosion as well as other causes of loss, such as theft and the extra cost of living elsewhere which the structure is being repaired or rebuilt.
Your policy also covers your legal liability (up to policy limits) if you, members of your family or even your pets hurt other people or their property, not just in your house, but away from it, as well.
When you insure your home, you are really insuring two distinct things:
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re insuring your stuff:
- Check the limits of your policy on personal items, such as jewelry, silverware, furs and computer equipment. If the limits are too low, consider buying a special personal property endorsement or a “floater.” An endorsement is an addition to your policy. A floater is a form of insurance that allows you to insure valuable items separately.
- Make an inventory of everything you own in your home and in other buildings on the property. Write down major items you own along with all available information, such as (a) serial numbers (b) make and/or model numbers (c) purchase prices (d) present value (e) date of purchase. Click here for more on home inventories.
- Document your inventory. Take either still or video pictures and attach receipts to the inventory when available. Store the inventory and visual records AWAY from your home—perhaps in a safe deposit box.
- Update the inventory when you make major purchases.
- The bottom line: Don’t put your policy up on a shelf somewhere and let it collect dust! Review your policy every year with your Insurance Agent.