People are just starting to wrap their minds around rebuilding in the wake of this year's devastating wildfires. That process often starts with an insurance claim.
In years past, when large numbers of claims have come in, big changes have happened in the insurance industry. Take Florida for example. The state is prone for hurricanes and other natural disasters, which has sent insurance rates skyrocketing in recent years. Some insurance companies have even pulled coverage altogether in the area.
In Colorado, close to 500 homes have been destroyed by wildfire this year with many more damaged, leaving many to wonder if the same insurance increases could happen here.
Experts say that the biggest impact, however, may be in way your home is inspected.
"The inspectors are going to be a little more hard on them (homeowners), depending on what their roof looks like, depending on the vegetation around them," said Roxann Horton, Sales Manager for the Chris Rose Allstate Agency.
Ed Benson is a Certified Master Inspector in Grand Junction. He says that homes, especially those in rural areas must have a defensible space devoid of fuels that could burn like dry grass, brush, firewood and other combustible materials.
Some homes that burned on the Front Range had wooden roofs. Even today, some home insurance companies will cover homes with wood roofs, but that may change and right now, the premiums are much higher.
"It definitely will cost more if you have wood shake (roof) versus asphalt versus tile," Horton said.
Beson tells us that current building codes no longer allow for new homes to be built with wood roofs.
"It's not acceptable any more to use cedar shake, any time of a wood roofing material. Most insurance companies as far as my inspections are concerned will not accept them. The mortgage companies have to reject that home until that roof is replaced with a less-combustible type of roofing."
For those concerned their policies may suddenly be canceled, Horton offers the following advice: "You have time to fix that. You have time to cut that brush away, cut those trees away. If you have a dead Cottonwood in the back yard, that's definitely something that you need to get rid of."
And as for insurance rates, those on the Front Range may see an increase because of the fires, Horton says, but on the Western Slope, we may not see the same impacts. She explains that insurance rates vary by territory, often made up by individual zip codes. So what impacts the Front Range shouldn't impact us here.
"The territories are based off of how many claims, what kind of claims. Grand Junction has a more higher claim for theft and vandalism than we really do for fire."
She does explain, however, that nationally, homeowner's insurance rates have been going up because of large-scale disasters like wildfire, tornadoes and hurricanes in recent years.
Locally, Glade Park and De Beque have higher homeowner's insurance rates due to wildfire threat.