The devastation in our community is overwhelming and comes on top of crisis after crisis. It’s estimated that these fires have taken up to 1,000 homes. For the many thousands of people impacted, the losses are much more than structures and stuff. People have lost their sense of safety, their shelter, their homes. We have to pull together again, be resilient, and support one another. It’s going to be a long haul. A few resources:
Information about impacted structures. Officials do not have address-specific information yet, but say they will soon, hopefully by tomorrow. You can view the burn area in red on this map, but remember, not all structures within the burn area were impacted. Continue to check the OEM website over the next day or so.
General information and resources for those evacuated. Contact the Boulder County Fire Emergency Call Center at 303-413-7730. Do not call 911.
Volunteer. Sign up for volunteer opportunities through Colorado Responds. Please do not self-deploy or take used household items to shelters.
Donate. Give if you can through the Boulder OEM website.
Insurance Claims – Steps to Take Now
United Policy Holders is an outstanding organization that advocates for insurance consumers. If your home is lost or damaged, sign up to receive their information and alerts (UPH will not share or sell your information). They recommend taking these important first steps as soon as you can, with more information in the video below:
Quick Insurance Tips
I also consulted with insurance expert Natascha O’Flaherty, of McDonough Law in Grand County. She’s been helping people in the aftermath of the East Troublesome Fire and suggested taking these steps as soon as possible:
- Contact your insurance carrier to notify them of your loss and begin the claim process.
- Get a claim number and contact information for your adjuster.
- Request a copy of your policy. By statute it must be provided within 72 hours.
- Request, in writing, a certified copy of your policy. By statute it must be provided within 30 days.
- Find and secure housing.
- Save all of your receipts since evacuation: hotels, restaurants, food, clothing, pet supplies, necessaries, and all items purchased.
- If it is a primary residence, per statute the carrier must offer to pay 30% of the contents without an inventory. You can claim additional amounts by submitting a written inventory of items lost. This money can help you fund the costs of replacing items immediately needed.
- Check with your adjuster on ALE (additional living expense) coverage. What amount of coverage do you have and for how long (typically 12-24 months)? Will the insurance company pay for your rental home? Or will your insurance company pay you the monthly fair market value of the home you lost so you can buy an interim home or condo while you rebuild? Will the insurance company pay the full ALE coverage at this time for you to use at your discretion? Note: to have a successful ALE claim, pull comps on rental prices for a home similar to the home you lost to the fire. Rental prices may surge due to demand after a fire.
- It is prudent to open a separate bank account for all insurance proceeds, and helpful to have a credit card for claim-related purchases only.
- Bottom line know your rights and what your policy covers.
I sincerely hope that you and the people you care about are okay. Please feel free to reach out to my office if we can help in any way. We will do our best to share what we learn and connect people with resources. I’ll share info on Twitter.