Insurance and Disaster – The Waldo Canyon Fire

By August 2, 2012Insurance Issues

By Matthew B. Drexler
Partner and Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

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The Waldo Canyon Fire displaced a lot of people. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. Business was interrupted. Hopefully, insurance was in place that covered these losses.

So, what to do now that the shock of the disaster is behind you and you have to pick up the pieces?

If your home or belongings were harmed, document the things that were lost or damaged. The more detail the better. Insurance companies appreciate evidence of loss. This includes photos or video of your home and contents. But even if you do not have receipts or photographs, go ahead and make your claim. This is why you have paid premiums.
Most homeowners’ policies, and some renter policies, provide benefits for temporary living expenses. This could include not only housing but also meals and travel. For example, if an insured lived up the pass and had to commute to work in Colorado Springs through Canyon City, mileage and fuel expense would be significant. If a policy holder stayed with friends or family there will still be benefits housing. It will help if those expenses are itemized and documented.

Many business owners will have business interruption coverage. If the store had to close for several days it is often possible to document the loss by showing what revenue would have been earned. This is a case specific process because each business is unique. Again, while documentation will be important, go ahead and make the claim based on available information.
Insurance companies are prepared to deal with widespread loss, like storms and fires. The disaster adjusters are already in the area. The idea is to make the insured whole by using money to replace what was lost. That includes tangible goods, income, expenses and time. Major disputes will have to do with delay or disagreement with the values of the loss. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, the Gasper Law Group is here to help.