People affected by Marshall fire work through confusing home insurance policies and payments – CBS Denver


BOULDER COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4)– Even in the cold darkness, the destruction of the home of Joe Martinez and his wife Lori is clear from the Marshall fire. A few bricks remain from the facade, but behind it is a hole where the rest of the house was.

(credit: CBS)

Smothered in emotion, Joe is somehow still grateful: “I just lost my house, I lost everything I own, but I feel like the luckiest guy in the world because I saw through it the outpouring of friends and family. It means a lot to me.”

Even with his insurance company, things seem to be going well.

“I feel pretty good about what the insurance company is saying right now.”

They offered him money, but he’s not sure.

“I have to do some calculations before I can say if it’s enough or not. The figure we got for the replacement of the house, it looks good now, but will it be good in two, two and a half, three years? »

This is how long he thinks it might take before he can rebuild himself. The cost of materials and labor and prices, in general, are increasing.

(credit: CBS)

“Well, the first thing to do is take a deep breath. There is no emergency. It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint,” said Scott deLuise, CEO of Adjusters International and president of the Rocky Mountain Association of Insurance Adjusters.

His role as an advisor to policyholders allows him to see trends and worry about the coverage levels of many of those affected by the Marshall fire. Typically, less than half of homeowners are underinsured. With this fire, it seems that the numbers are much higher.

“Somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% to 75%.”

He tells the owners to hold back. Some of the costs paid to them are only known after payment.

“Don’t accept the first offer the company makes to you, even if it’s the policy limits. Because this extended replacement cost endorsement will not be paid unless the insurance company acknowledges that it owes you as well.

These refunds come later.

“When they rebuild their house, they’ll get that extra, 20, 25 some policies say 50%. Some policies have a guaranteed replacement cost endorsement, which means whatever it costs to rebuild the home the insurance company will eventually reimburse, if you can prove that your loss is more than your limit. basic font.

Boulder County officially requested FEMA support this week to fund the cost of land clearing and foundation removal. The federal government is asked to approve the costs of what the insurance will pay for the removal. If not, there may be an effort to get Coloradans to help, possibly through a local tax initiative in the county.

DeLuise says detention can put people in a better position when they understand the full cost.

“Don’t spend money that you don’t know you’re going to have for sure. Do not begin construction until the total amount of loss has been determined. Even beyond the boundaries of politics.

(credit: CBS)

And for some, he says, it might make sense to consider buying another home.

“If they buy a house somewhere else, they still own the land under the house that burned down and they can sell it and that will help as well.”

Martinez says he doesn’t believe his insurance company is trying to take advantage of him. And wants to get started. He owns about half a dozen acres of land on the west side of Superior and would like to move there. But still wonders.

“If I could start right away, yes, I would start looking at building plans and builders… I want to get it done right. I want the attenuation done right. I want the cleaning done right. So, you know, we’ll see.


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