The Black Forest fire has cost $292.8 million in insurance claims so far, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
There have been about 3,630 homeowners and auto insurance claims filed so far in the aftermath of the fire, which killed two people and burned 486 homes.
Initially, it makes the Black Forest fire the second most expensive in the state’s history, still behind the Waldo Canyon fire, with 2012 losses equaling $453.7 million for 6,648 claims and 347 losses.
The early Black Forest fire estimates, when compared with preliminary numbers from the Waldo Canyon fire, show more total property losses, but fewer overall home and auto insurance claims filed so far with approximately 3,630 claims that include smoke damage, additional living expenses, damaged and destroyed homes, as well as personal belongings and vehicles.
There are likely a number of factors that play a role in the difference, adjustors say. Black Forest is more rural and wooded with a wide variety of property types ranging from large, multiple structure home sites to single-family dwellings and cabins. Waldo Canyon is an urban neighborhood and is more densely populated, which would likely add up to more overall damage claims. Current estimates do not include commercial losses.
“Wildfire continues to exact a tragic and financial toll on our state,” says Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. “But insurance catastrophe adjusters have been on the ground since the first evacuation notice, and the industry is prepared over the long-term to help impacted residents recover and communities rebuild. The industry has many resources available to help Coloradans work through the claims settlement process.”
Residents with homeowners insurance have coverage under the policy limits to repair and rebuild the structure of their home, replace their personal belongings and additional living expenses if they need to live elsewhere while their home is being repaired or rebuilt. Cars that are damaged or destroyed are covered under the optional comprehensive portion of insurance policy. Renters insurance pays to replace personal belongings up to the policy limits.