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.

Spring Cleaning and Denver Non-profits: Make Meaning with Your Cleaning

Because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are popular at this time of year. One way to turn spring cleaning into something more meaningful is to donate gently used items or the cash proceeds from a garage sale to your favorite Denver non-profit.

We live in one of the “hottest economies” in the U.S. which makes it easy to forget that there are still families and individuals who struggle to survive.  According the U.S. Dept. Of Agricultural 12.1% of all Coloradans are hungry because they don’t have enough money to buy food.  The 2016 U.S. Census reveals that 11.5% of Coloradans live below the poverty line and that includes 1 in 7 children.

So give a hand up to those less fortunate by making meaning with your spring cleaning!

If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well, keep that to yourself! Unless you want your friends and neighbors to be jealous, that is.)

6 Spring Cleaning Tips

  1. Take It One Room at a Time
    Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.
  2. Follow the Six-Month Rule
    Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.
  3. Don’t Forget the Kitchen
    Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time. And this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything that is no longer edible or that you won’t be eating.  If you have non-perishables, check the date.  If they’re safe to eat, set those aside to donate.
  4. Set Yourself Up for Success
    Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.
  5. Have a Garage Sale and Donate to Your Favorite Denver Charity
    Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to raise money for a Denver non-profit. Talk about a win-win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, someone pays you for it, and then you can help someone else by donating the proceeds to a Denver charity.
  6. Stay Safe So You Can Enjoy Your Results
    Spring is one of the best times of the year in Colorado, so you want to make sure you keep in mind the potential for physical strain and injury.
    When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.

The Denver Rescue Mission – Join Our Drive

You can also bring gently used items to the Aspen Office to participate in our initiative to support The Denver Rescue Mission.  Because of your contributions during first quarter, together we made a huge contribution of gently used items including much needed coats, sweaters, and other cold weather items.

Just bring your items to our office at 2238 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.  We will be taking our next donation in May.

Aspen Community Support: Share Our Good Luck with Others

Cindy Chase Denver Rescue Mission

The “Good Luck” theme of March causes me to reflect on my own good luck.  I have always felt lucky to be a Coloradan.  I’ve spent my entire life living in the state of Colorado and for the past 25 years, I’ve built Aspen Insurance Agency, a business that serves Colorado residents and business owners.

Because of my own good fortune, I feel strongly about giving back to our community.  As an individual and as a business owner, I feel it’s important to give back in ways that helps our community thrive.

 Aspen Supports the Denver Rescue Mission

Each quarter Aspen supports a non-profit.  Denver Rescue Mission is our non-profit for first quarter 2017.  We’re collecting clothes, non-perishable food, and other household items to donate during January through March.  At the end of January we made the first delivery.

The growth of Denver and Colorado has brought opportunity and prosperity for many.  At the same time, it has created challenges for others struggling to make a life for themselves.  That’s why we feel the work of the Denver Rescue Mission is important.

Denver Rescue Mission Helps Homeless People Build a Sustainable Life

In addition to providing emergency services and shelter for the most vulnerable in our community, the Denver Rescue Mission also takes the next step to help homeless people get back on their feet.  They provide many education programs, life skills training, counseling, transitional and permanent housing, with a goal to help people thrive and build a strong foundation for a self-sufficient life.

As an insurance agent, I get a first-hand view into the delight and excitement that my clients feel when they buy their home, or their new car.  I also help many of my clients build and expand their business by providing advice and insurance products that protect their risk and help to insure their success.  This is what I love about my business, the opportunity to participate in my clients’ lives and be of service in a way that helps them thrive.

It’s also why my team and I choose Denver Rescue Mission as our non-profit for this quarter.  If you have gently used items of clothing, non-perishable food, or house hold items, please drop them off at our office.  We will be delivering all collected items at the end of the quarter.

Aspen Insurance Help Our Community Referral Program

Another way to contribute to Denver Rescue Mission is by making a referral to us. We work hard to provide great service and appreciation for your business every day.  As our way of saying thank you, we’ve created the “Aspen Insurance Help Our Community” referral program.  Every time you send a referral to us, we will donate $10.00 to the charity of the Quarter, which is Denver Rescue Mission.

Thank-you for the opportunity to be of service you.  I feel lucky every day to live and work in our great state of Colorado.

Colorado Disasters: Are You Prepared?

by Cindy Chase

Wow…who could have imagined that floods would cause such catastrophic Colorado disasters and damage to our fellow Coloradans and beautiful state?

As an insurance agent, I’m keenly aware of the impact.  It’s what we do.  We help clients protect their assets and manage their risk. Never imagining a  flooding disaster, I wrote an article on “Do I need flood insurance?” earlier this spring.

This disaster really got me thinking about the role insurance plays in being prepared. Before a disaster strikes, insurance is not a big conversation starter. After something terrible happens, it’s a hot topic. Unfortunately most people think about insurance when it’s too late.

Colorado Disasters: Coloradans
Must Be Prepared

This year Colorado has experienced 8 of 12 disastrous hazards as defined by FEMA, including Floods, Tornadoes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat, Landslide and Debris Flows (Mudslide), Fires and Wildfires. This is amazing.

What does being prepared mean? The definition according to the dictionary is “thinking ahead and being ready.”

What does that mean to you?  Simply this: Colorado residents must be ready for disasters – with our eyes wide open. Being prepared reduces fear and anxiety. It also minimizes the losses that accompany catastrophes.

Thinking Ahead and Preparing
for the Unexpected

I recommend that you review the  “Are You Ready?” section on the U.S. Government Ready website. It has many helpful tips and ideas. Here are a few I’d like to share:

1. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will communicate in different situations. Make an action plan that also includes important phone numbers. Place it where everyone can find it, for example, on your Pantry door. And save it to your PC, tablet and phone.

2. According to the guide, we need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days following a hazardous event. This means being ready to provide your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.

If you’ve lived in Colorado, as long as I have, you know we’ve had storms that kept us snowbound for several days. If you think not having TV is a hardship, think again!  You may be without food, medication, heat and even shelter for several days.

3.  Safety Skills was also an informative chapter. For example…How to use a fire extinguisher. A small house fire can be avoided if everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is located in your home, and how to use it. And remember to include your babysitter.

Reviewing the information on this website reinforced my belief in how we best serve our clients. Our goal is to help you make wise decisions that protect you before you need it. When you look at the synonyms of insurance…protection, defense, safeguard, security, hedge, precaution, provision, surety, community, guarantee, warranty, backstop; it’s easy to see that’s our mission.

Are you prepared?  If you’re not sure or have a question, please call 303-777-2991 or e-mail us today.  We’re committed to helping you Be Prepared!

Colorado Lifestyle: Safety Tips for Riding Your Bike

by Cindy Chase

I love riding my bike to work.  At the first sign of spring, you’ll find me happily pedaling to my Denver based office. It’s one of the things I love about the Colorado lifestyle.

So I was thrilled when there was finally a break from the Rocky Mountain winter.  Mid-March and 70 degrees!

Like so many other cycling enthusiasts in Colorado, that 70 degree March day inspired me to pull out my “cruiser” bike and enjoy my first ride to work in 2013. Within the first few minutes of riding…I was reminded of biker safety and the need for motorist to remember they share the road with cyclists.

Riding Your Bike to Work

I ride on side streets and most of them have cycling lanes.  Here is what I encountered on my 6-mile ride to work:

  • Crowding by BIG SUVS at corners…okay maybe, they really didn’t see me.  But that’s the point you need to be on the look-out for cyclists in the riding lane.
  • Motorists getting very close to me when we were the only ones on the road.
  • People getting in their cars, opening the car door and not looking to see if a cyclists or other motorist are coming.

Thank-goodness for my obnoxious bell!

Colorado Lifestyle:  Spring has Sprung and so have the Cyclists, Motorcyclists and Walkers

We all need to remember that in Colorado – Spring means we “spring” to the great outdoors. It’s time to put away our winter safety habits…snow, ice etc and polish up our spring safety habits.

Everywhere you turn, you’ll see cyclists, motorcyclists, adults and children out walking, biking and crossing streets.  Now is the time to slow down and turn up your awareness of what is going on around you as you drive.  Become more observant of riders in the bicycle lanes.  Listen for motorcycles.  And most importantly stop at all crosswalks to make sure there are no pedestrians in the area.

If the Unexpected Does Happen

Cyclists…here’s an important thing to know if the unexpected happens.  If you are in a biking accident, did you know that your uninsured/underinsured auto insurance covers you?  Your med pay also applies.

Be sure to review your insurance to confirm that this valuable coverage is in place.

Be Prepared with These Cyclist Safety Tips

As you get ready for bike riding season be prepared to ensure a wonderful experience with these safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Ride in the bicycle lanes
  • Look several cars ahead
  • Make yourself visible
  • Ride predictably
  • Be hyper aware when crossing intersections

As always if we can be of service please call 303-777-2991 or send us an e-mail.