Marshall Fire victims find homeowners insurance not enough

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As the rebuilding process begins in Boulder County, thousands are left wondering how they will actually pay for it all when many insurance policies are not covering the full amount of construction and replacement costs.

The Colorado Division of Insurance tells the Problem Solvers insurance companies are required to offer extended coverage of 20% of the dwelling limit in homeowners policies, but some homeowners said it’s not enough.

Computer scientist Peter Kovari’s home was destroyed by fire.

“I thought that this was going to be our forever home, but this is not our forever home anymore,” he said.

Kovari said adding to the devastation is the fact that money he received from his insurance company this week will not be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding because of a difference of more than $300,000. Friends set up a GoFundMe page to help. Kovari said he will try to find a way to provide a forever home for his family, but it will be difficult.

Dominick Mancine said his home of 20 years burned to the ground in the fire. His policy will not cover the entire amount he needs, leaving him to consider waiting more than a year to move back to the block that he looked forward to coming home to for so long.

“We pay insurance to cover us in an event like this. I would’ve happily lived my whole life never needing to use it,” he said.

What to know about homeowners insurance policies

Insurance experts tell the Problem Solvers that homeowners have the option of having a cost assessment done by an outside adjuster. Some policies include clauses that offer added protection against rising costs.

“Most companies have what’s called a built-in inflation bar and they may increase your dwelling limit year after year, and it could be 10% anywhere up to 25%,” Sarah Lucero, of Risk Management Partners, said. Lucero emphasized that all homeowners need to regularly reevaluate their property, especially if there are home improvements, and make sure their coverage is updated.

Homeowners may contact the Colorado Division of Insurance to challenge assessments or obtain information. Staff members are available at the Disaster Assistance Center or you can contact the office at 303-894-7490 or at [email protected].

The state insurance division said if policy payouts are not received, a complaint can be filed. All people impacted by the Boulder County fires and straight-line winds should submit an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual assistance. The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans to help cover shortfalls in insurance.

Insurance policies fall short for Marshall Fire victims