Wildfire insurance claims in Colorado approach $500 million

Wildfire insurance-Waldo Canyon

High Park and Waldo Canyon fire victims have already started making their filings.

Wildfire insurance data from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association has indicated that the claims from victims of the High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires will generate payouts of almost $450 million from insurers.

This estimate is preliminary, as the claims process is just getting started.

Insurers have begun looking into the tallies of the losses from personal property and home damage from the fires that caused destruction to over 600 houses in El Paso and Larimer counties, and damaged several hundred more.

According to Carole Walker, the association’s executive director, “That is a good snapshot of what it will cost to help folks in the rebuilding process.” It is also double the total recorded from the Fourmile fire in 2010, which occurred to the west of Boulder and led to $224 million in payouts. Until now, that had been the most expensive fire in the state.

The wildfire insurance payments for the destroyed and damaged homes will be made first.

Personal property checks will be cut later on, once the homes have been taken care of, as the payments are being made in order of urgency. Walker also explained that “That will take more time as people now have to go back and catalog everything, which is a long process.”

Though insurers are hopeful that wildfire insurance claims will involve few instances of fraud, they remain very cautious, particularly in the case of personal property payments. She said that there are certain precautionary measures that are taken to battle fraudulent claims, such as the necessity for receipts for higher priced items and detailed home inventories.

Other forms of claim that have been included in the wildfire insurance payout estimate include damage caused by smoke, as well as additional vehicles and living expenses while homes are repaired or rebuilt.

Individuals and families that have been displaced by the fires are relying on their wildfire insurance payments to give them the funds they need right away, simply so that they will have somewhere to live. Equally, though, Walker has explained that these policyholders should not rush their claims, as accuracy will work in their favor.

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