December 30, 2021 – Thousands of Coloradans are under mandatory and pre-evacuation orders this evening as multiple fires forced many out of their homes in Boulder County with the towns of Superior and Louisville being completely evacuated this afternoon. As high winds pushed fires out-of-control and there is already devastating property loss, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association has insurance and evacuation advice.
"As Colorado homeowners have been forced to flee their homes today on a moment’s notice, it is critical those in the path of the fires understand how their insurance can help them when they’re under a mandatory evacuation order and what to do as they are allowed back into their homes," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association.
Insurance Evacuation & Claims Advice: If you are under a mandatory evacuation order here’s what you need to know to about putting safety first, maintaining COVID-19 health precautions, and what to expect from your insurance coverage and claims filing process.
COVID-19 challenges may impact evacuation shelters, lodging availability and claims handling. First and foremost, if you are ordered to evacuate, you need to leave your residence immediately. Listen to orders from local authorities.
Contact your insurance agent or company immediately to let them know where you are staying and help you with coverage or claims questions. They can also help assist you with lodging options. Insurance company claim contact information
Evacuation Insurance Coverage:
- Homeowners or renters who are under a mandatory evacuation order likely have insurance coverage for "additional living expenses" which provides them with a certain amount of out-of-pocket money under their insurance policy while they are forced out of their homes. Policies can vary so check with your insurance professional about what coverage you have and keep receipts for expenses that may be reimbursed if you file a damage claim.
- Most insurance policies cover additional living expenses if you are under a mandatory evacuation and are unable to live in your house or apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses, but policies have set limits on the amount they will pay and may be subject to a deductible.
What to know before you go:
- If you are on pre-evacuation alert it is critical to have an evacuation plan that includes identifying available lodging options, i.e. family/friends; local hotels; shelter locations; insurance assistance with lodging; pet shelters.
Take photos or video of personal possession-particularly antiques, artwork or custom/expensive items. Do this only if you have plenty of time--put safety FIRST!
- Make a home inventory that includes list, pictures or a videotape of the contents of your home or apartment. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but most insurance companies now have apps to help simplify the process. You can add digital photos and scan in receipts, along with your room-by room online inventory.
- Use apps or your computer to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowners’ room-by-room inventory program. Check with your insurance company about what technology they provide.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners inventory checklist and My Home App. https://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf https://itunes.apple.com/app/myhome-scr-app-book/id414273863?mt=8
Insurance Claims Filing Advice:
- Insurance companies have implemented safety procedures that address COVID-19 concerns to provide virtual property and inspection opportunities whenever possible in the claim settlement process. If an on-site inspection is required, adjusters are trained in proper safety precautions, including wearing masks, social distancing, and following CDC guidelines.
- Residents returning home to damage from smoke or other fire-related property losses should contact their insurance company immediately.
Insurance Resources & Claims Assistance:
In case of possible evacuation – only if you have enough warning – consider packing the following items:
- Social Security cards
- Driver's licenses
- Credit cards
- House deed
- Vehicle titles
- Marriage license
- Birth Certificates
- Insurance policies
- Home inventory list / photos
- Health insurance cards
- Prescription medications
- Important personal computer information downloaded to disk
- Valuable jewelry
- Home videos
- Items with sentimental value, such as wedding dress or baby keepsakes
- One week's worth of clothing
- Pets with ID tags, carriers, and pet food
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