Get solutions to your questions on Marshall Fireplace Home Insurance – The Colorado Solar

Insurance, when it works, is supposed to be relaxing. Restoring a way of life that you liked, a career, your family's health, and yes, valuable objects.

The Marshall fire destroyed much of that security for thousands of Boulder Counties, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage in instant. Colorado officials say they are ready to stop any insurance challenges and, if necessary, intervene with any regulations or law to promote a full recovery.

More than 900 people came to a virtual insurance company town hall this week with heartbreaking questions about when their insurance will take effect and how to avoid financial disaster.

Burnt victim Mary B. put it this way in the forum: “I just moved in, and it's … it's gone. I lost my job. I lost everything."

Here we pick up some of the key questions Marshall burn victims had for insurance professionals. But these tips are for anyone in Colorado who owns or rent a home and is far more concerned about climate-related disasters than they were a week ago. Do yourself a favor and let the insurance company examine or tweak you – whatever you call it, there can be no peace of mind.

Q: will they replace my home? What if my policy doesn't cover the amount needed to rebuild in today's economy? Am I "underinsured"?

ONE: Many fire-destroyed homes are being rebuilt and an owner's temporary living expenses are covered by home insurance. However, this is not always the case when you are underinsured. This can be a problem when setting your insurance up for car travel.

Victims of the Boulder County fire should speak to their insurance company immediately about the payout language in their current policy. You should also seek additional clarification from government regulators who have teams in place specifically for this purpose and from nonprofit groups that represent policyholders. United Policeholders is a company that has been found helpful and useful by many disaster victims in the past.

FEMA offers financial support to the uninsured, but can also supplement insurance benefits for the underinsured. The state insurance department recommends going through your regular insurance process. When you get the estimate, if it's not enough to cover the repair or rebuild, contact FEMA again and they will take a second look. You have to prove that the insurer does not cover the full amount.

Q: Should I apply now, or should I wait until I have created all of my lists?

ONE: Register an initial application with your insurance company now. It doesn't have to be complete. Filing now takes you into a system of emergency assistance arranged by teams of insurers and state civil protection officials that could prove very useful. Most major insurance companies have disaster recovery systems in place and do not want bad publicity in such disasters. They can be helpful in reducing early controls for the loss of possessions that can be used to replace cars, clothes, and essentials. They will also explain to you the system for paying your temporary livelihood during the reconstruction, including renting a new home.

State officials in the Rathausforum emphasized that your original demands and lists need not be exhaustive. If it helps, write down the big things first, the expensive electronics or valuable antiques, or just the number of beds. Hand that in. Your insurer file will stay open while you go over phone photos and room-by-room reminders to add lost items.

Q: Should I list everything that was in my house? How can i remember

ONE: United Policeholders has HERE a list of items to help homeowners remember what is in their home. The organization also provides a downloadable spreadsheet to help homeowners run through their lost inventory. HERE

More tips:

  • Check your photo archive for pictures of your home. Ask friends who may have photos that show you what is in certain rooms in your home.
  • Access online financial accounts to remind you of past purchases on credit cards, Amazon, and more.
  • Carla Albers, who lost her home in the Waldo Canyon fire, recommends getting a notebook and writing down all the rooms in your house on separate pages. Then you start by listing articles, the big ones first. You can go back later and provide more specific details – a Serta mattress, for example – but when you sit down with the insurer to do the inventory, you can start.
  • You will likely be asked to include the replacement cost for all items. Albers said her local Bed, Bath & Beyond had her create a special fire register so she could walk around the store and scan items she used to have at home. She then printed out a price list to present to her insurance company.

Q: How can I prove things to my insurance company?

ONE: Do you remember the advice on keeping receipts? It was one of the most repeated lines in the past week.

Documentation is boring. Do you know what else it is? Very effective. If you're a homeowner, keep receipts and bills for your major renovations or improvements, from that converted family room to the new stove you bought last year.

Ask your broker or agent if your policy covers certain possessions outside of the house structure – some insurers require special passengers for valuable jewelry or other individual possessions even if they are in the house.

Whether you are a tenant or a homeowner, excessive photography is never a waste of time. Search your phone and other cloud media for previous photos of your home, apartment, and belongings. For those of you planning on future insurance, take pictures of the furnishings and fittings in each room. Snap photos of important possessions, be it a vinyl record collection, a big screen TV, or a treadmill. Put the images in the cloud or in an off-home locker for storage.

Mobile apps are available with which you can document, categorize and mark receipts. A couple of notes:

Google's Stack app takes photos of receipts and saves them.

  • stack – From Google's in-house Incubator Area 120, this mobile app takes pictures of paper receipts and converts them into PDFs. It also has a scanner that reads the text in photos, making it easier to find specific receipts. For free. >> stack.area120.com
  • Output – It's more of a receipt and expense tracker for business users and integrates with QuickBooks and other accounting software. Limited free and paid plans. >> expensify.com
  • Evernote – Creates and dates photos of receipts that can be manually tagged to keep track of expenses. Free and paid versions. >> evernote.com

In addition, document all measures that have been taken to prevent further damage, such as: B. Emergency repairs or protecting pipelines from freezing. Take before and after pictures and save all receipts.

And even if some items are not worth replacing, such as an old blender you received 20 years ago, if you buy a new blender, keep an eye on future expenses. The insurance company will often cover the cost of the new replacement, so you can get a refund – with a receipt.

Q: Can I get some money now to make a living for the time being? How do I do that?

A: Yes you can, and that's one of the reasons everyone is stressing that you should make your first claim immediately. Many total home loss policies allow or encourage immediate payout of 30% of face value for possessions or "content", depending on your policy language. This is not all you get. It's a starter. It is an affirmation that in the face of total disaster, families need some cash for clothes and other basic items right away.

“That 30% can be incredibly important and incredibly useful when you are trying to rebuild your life. And this payment does not depend on an inventory, ”said Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway to the town hall forum.

In addition to ownership, there are two other important cash payments: loss of use and additional living expenses. The downtime pays your rent or hotel costs for the time you are away from home, although there may be time or total payout limits, so discuss this with your insurer. Loss of use can be paid out in advance or, more often, reimbursed after receipt. Did we mention that all receipts are kept?

Additional living expenses are also another thing that needs to be carefully monitored. Receipts, receipts, receipts. Replacing clothes is a matter of course. But also keep the toothpaste receipt and everything else in between. Refills for medication, glasses and contact lenses, lunch boxes for children, dog food. Document everything.

Rick and Kathy Jeffries are searching for items from the remains of their Louisville home, where they have lived since 2011. Nearly 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the Marshall Fire, Colorado's most devastating fire to date. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)

Q: Should I have the dirt removed now?

ONE: Most homeowner policies include amounts for the removal of rubble after a disaster. Make sure that you note this in your initial application. However, because so many homes have burned down and may contain toxic substances that are dangerous to both clean up and dispose of, state and federal officials are pulling together to consider joint solutions to this problem, Conway said this week.

Boulder County Health warned Wednesday that fire victims should not throw up debris to search for possessions or take inventory. The ministry said it was "strongly warned that sorting ashes and rubble poses a significant health risk and is highly dangerous".

The state could help arrange a master agreement in the vast areas that were on fire. Stay tuned. But claim that in the meantime.

Q: Should I wait for my community to come up with a master recovery plan? Or should I go on alone?

ONE: First, file the claim. More information may be available in the coming weeks.

In other fire-ravaged communities, like the Mountain Shadows subdivision that burned in the Waldo Canyon fire in 2012, local builders rebuilt many of the same homes that were built before the fires. George Hess III, founder of Vantage Homes, told The Colorado Sun that the company still has the old master plans for the neighborhood. With a few tweaks, Vantage has built some of the exact same homes and done so much faster than starting out with new plans or hiring a new builder.

Colorado officials said they are looking for more information from California communities that have been burned out and are currently in the middle of master planning efforts. But that will take some time.

Q: Do I have to keep paying my mortgage, insurance, property taxes, etc. even if my home is lost?

ONE: Yes. Mortgage lenders require homeowners to purchase home insurance to protect assets. Insurance should cover most or all of the recovery. If you decide you don't want to remodel or sell, you can use the insurance proceeds to pay off the mortgage.

But talk to your lender. They can temporarily waive payments and should work with you if the home is lost.

For property tax issues, speak to your local city or government. Following the Waldo Canyon fire, the El Paso County Assessor lowered the scores of all homes destroyed and damaged by the fires by up to 75 percent, said Steve Schleiker, who was the assistant assessor at the time and currently serves as assessor. The land still has value.

Q: I just bought new windows and have an unsecured loan. You are now destroyed. Do I have to repay the loan?

ONE: Yes, otherwise you will default on this loan. But make sure the windows are part of your home insurance. The cost can be fully covered so that you can pay off the loan.

A building, formerly the Westin Hotel, destroyed by Marshall Fire on Saturday, January 1, 2022, in Superior, Colorado (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Q: What protection do I have as a tenant?

ONE: If you have rental deposit insurance, speak to the company about insurance coverage and the recovery process. If you don't have insurance, FEMA provides financial assistance to tenants to pay for temporary housing and cover lost items. However, you cannot get help from both your insurer and FEMA.

Local and private organizations also help people in the Boulder and Denver area find accommodation, including the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association, the Colorado Apartment Association, and Denver Apartment Finders.

Q: How can people “tune” their insurance for future disasters?

Coloradans who are not victims of the current fire disaster should still do their own insurance check or let themselves be “tuned” if they want changes. One of the biggest misunderstandings in home insurance is whether a policy fully covers today's cost of rebuilding the home in its original form. Your insurance may be limited to a certain amount of payout. That number may have looked great a few years ago when you paid your first premium. But would it be enough to pay contractors to rebuild your dream home now?

Put it this way, Investopedia put it: "Some advisors believe that all homeowners should buy guaranteed replacement value policies because you don't need just enough insurance to cover the value of your home … has probably increased since you bought or built) . ”

Do you have another disaster-related insurance question? Ask us: stand@coloradosun.com

We believe that important information needs to be seen from the individuals concerned, be it a public health crisis, investigative reporting, or legislative accountability. This coverage depends on the support of readers like you.

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