Colorado Wildfires: How to Protect Your Home

Lower than normal Colorado Wildfires are being predicated this summer by meteorologists.  A cooling trend this spring and strong end of season snow storms are helping. But there will still be wildfires, and you know that Colorado weather changes with the wind…and that’s what could cause more wildfires.

We hope for a reprieve, but it’s always wise at this time of year to take some precautions to protect your home from the unexpected.

How to Protect Your Home from Colorado Wildfires

No building is fireproof, but there are steps you can take to better the chances when wildfire strikes.

  • Define your defensible space—a 30-foot, non-combustible zone around your home.
  • Choose fire-resistant plants and trees.
  • Remove or prune low hanging tree branches.
  • Cut grass and weeds regularly and keep your roof and yard clean, especially from dry yard debris.
  • Stack wood piles or other burnable materials at least 30 feet from your home or other buildings on your property.
  • Keep signs and addresses visible so firefighters can easily locate your property.
  • Rate your roof—is it fire resistant?
  • Recycle yard debris and branches instead of burning.

Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy for detailed coverage explanations. Do you have coverage for repairs or rebuilding costs?  If so what are the deductibles?  How much is available for repairs?  Will the current policy replacement cost be enough? If you can’t live in your home does your policy provide additional living expense coverage?

Don’t let the potential of a less than average Colorado wildfire season put the review of your insurance policy on the “back burner”.  With rising housing costs, it’s important to review your policy annually to make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild based on current construction costs.

When a Wildfire Strikes Protect Yourself and Your Family

If a wildfire starts in your area, monitor local news reports for evacuation procedures. Prepare for
evacuation by turning off gas valves and pilot lights, closing all windows and doors and packing your car for quick departure, if there is time and it is safe to do so. Return to a burned area only when local authorities have instructed you to do so.

Current Colorado Wildfires, Bans and Restrictions

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control provides up to date information on current wildfires, fire bans and restrictions. The following map provides a snapshot of information.  To learn more please visit their website Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

Call Us Today for a Quick Homeowners Policy Review

If you’re not sure about your coverage in the event your home is damaged or destroyed by a wildfire, please call us at 303- 777-2991 for a quick policy review.

Colorado Homeowner’s Insurance: 9 Key Questions to Ask Your Agent

Our office is inundated with phone calls when unexpected events like the wildfires and floods happen. Current clients, prospective clients, and even individuals who may not have  Colorado homeowner’s insurance policies call and are often panicked. They’re not sure what coverage they have…Do I have fire coverage…Do I have flood coverage? Or they may want to find out about the process to file a claim.

Colorado Homeowner’s Insurance : Understand the Details of Your Policy Coverage

At Aspen Insurance Agency, we’ve been serving Coloradans for over 20 years, and we fully relate to these calls. Our mission is to provide you with the proper coverage before you need it.  That’s why we always encourage our clients and others to call us to review both your insurance coverage and policy language.

When you call be sure to ask these questions. Learning the answers helps you understand your coverage and give you peace of mind.

  1. If  disaster strikes and I’m faced with a total loss, what is my coverage both for property and for personal possessions?
  2. If there is a total loss, can I rebuild anywhere I want, or do I have to rebuild on my existing property site?
  3. What is my coverage for debris removal?
  4. What are the exclusions in my policy?
  5. Are vehicles such as RVs, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, and cars insured if they were inside a garage that was destroyed?
  6. Is jewelry and valuable art covered in my homeowners’ policy?
  7. What are my deductibles?
  8. Are deductibles treated differently for different types of situations? For example, is wind and hail damage treated differently from fire damage and are these treated differently from burglary?
  9. If my family is displaced after a major loss, will our policy cover our living expenses while our home is being repaired or rebuilt?

Know the Details of Your Colorado Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

The bottom line is this: ALL HOMEOWNER POLICIES ARE NOT EQUAL! Even if you think you know what your homeowner’s insurance covers, your risk tolerance may have changed since the policy was written. It’s important to understand what you have chosen for coverage and what coverage you have NOT chosen.

Please make sure to review your policy and call our office at (303) 777-2991 or send and e-mail with any of your questions or concerns. We want to make sure you have the coverage that you need and also the coverage that you think you have!

Home Insurance: Get Your Home Ready for Your Vacation

It’s summer! Summer is an exciting time of year because school is out, the weather is warm, and it’s the most popular time of year to get away! To ensure your vacation is great from beginning to end, I want to share some tips to make sure you don’t need to file a claim with your home insurance policy when you return.

When you leave for a vacation do you normally close the door behind you on the way out and not think about it again until the day you return? In most cases, it’s fine to leave your home for a few days without concern.

 

But if you’re going to be away from home for more than a day or two, it’s important to get your house ready to sit vacant. Your home is a valuable asset, which is why you have home insurance.  So it’s essential that you safeguard it while you’re out of town. There is nothing worse than coming home to problems that could have been prevented in the first place.

Home Insurance: 10 Tips to Protect Your Home When You’re on Vacation

1. Turn off the water supply – There is nothing worse than coming home from a vacation to the remnants of water damage. Prior to leaving, shut the water supply off and turn down the temperature on your water heater.

2. Unplug major appliances and electronics – This protects your expensive televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment from power surges.

3. Put your lights on timers – Purchase several timers, which are relatively inexpensive. Set the timers so it looks as though someone is home.

4. AC/Swamp Coolers – Set your air conditioner thermostat at 85 degrees, but do NOT turn it off! Turning the ventilation system off completely can cause damage to the woodwork in your house.  However, you should turn off swamp coolers while you are away.

5. Check your sump pump – If you have a sump pump, throw a bucket of water in your sump pump pit to make sure the system is still functional while you are out of town.

6. Mow your lawn – Mow your lawn the day before or the day of your departure.  An unkempt yard is a clear sign that a home is unoccupied.

7. Hold your mail – Notify the post office to put your mail on hold and tell the newspaper not to deliver anything for the dates you will be gone.

8. Empty the fridge – Get rid of all the food that will expire while you’re gone.

9. Take out the garbage – Make sure to take out the garbage before you leave town – but do not leave your garbage cans on the curb while you are away!

10. Have a friend or family member house sit or at least check on your house – If you have someone available that you trust, have him/her stay at your house or stop by to check things out.

It takes a little time to get your house ready for vacation. But think of it like “insurance for your vacation”.  You’ll have peace of mind while you’re away and know that your vacation ends on a positive note.

If you have any questions about your home insurance policy, please call Aspen Insurance at 303-777-2991 or  e-mail us today.

Colorado Homeowner’s Insurance: Do I Need Flood Insurance?

by Cindy Chase

We are in the midst of a very wet spring.  The last few weeks may have caused you to wonder what type of water damage is covered by your Colorado homeowner’s insurance policy.  And, do you need a flood policy?  You may also be wondering if you live in a flood plain…how do you find out?

What is the Difference between Flood Damage and Water Damage?

The first place to start is to understand the difference between flood damage and water damage.

Flood damage is defined as water that has been on the ground at some point before it does damage to your home.

Water damage is the opposite.  It is defined as damage done to your home by water before the water comes into contact with the ground.

Examples of flood damage may include:

  • A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into your home.
  • Surface water caused by a heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can’t absorb the water quickly enough.
  • A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.

Examples of water damage may include:

  • A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain-free access to your home.
  • A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
  • A broken water pipe spews water in your home.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe their homeowner’s insurance policy covers flood damage. It doesn’t. Up to 75 percent of the buildings in the U.S. located in areas with a high risk of flooding are not covered by flood insurance.

From Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

What Does Your Colorado Homeowner’s
Insurance Policy Cover?

Take note: Your homeowner’s policy does not provide coverage for flood damage.  The only way to insure your home against a flood is with a flood insurance policy — no other insurance will cover flood damage.

A homeowner’s insurance policy does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home.

But not all policies are created equal. Insurance carriers offer different coverage options, so it’s important to take the time to understand what types of water damage your homeowner’s policy covers.

If you’re not sure, please call us. We welcome an opportunity to explain your current policy and assist you in making any changes that fit your needs.