Flooding After Fires
People are at greater risk of flooding due to wildfires in recent years. Flood risk remains a significant risk for up to five years after a wildfire. Review this information from the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management regarding Flood After Fires, how to reduce risk and how to purchase flood insurance.
The Division of Insurance is ready to help
Do you need information, have a complaint or need help finding your insurer or agent? The Division of Insurance can help before, during and after a disaster.
- Finding contact information for insurance companies
- Answering questions about insurance
- Explaining the claim process
- Resolving problems or complaints about an insurance company or agent
Wildfire Mitigation - What it is & Why it's important
Wildfire Mitigation Resources
- Colorado Property & Insurance Wildfire Preparedness Guide
- csfs.colostate.edu/areas - Find your local Colorado State Forest Service office
- coloradoforestatlas.org - Access mapping tool for statewide wildfire risk information
- IBHS.org - Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
- disastersafety.org/wildfire/wildfire-ready - Information from IBHS on being wildfire ready
- rmiia.org - Rocky Mountain Insurance Association
- Colorado Division of Insurance, Consumer Services: 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us
- Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management - This site has a list of participating counties where consumers can register for and begin receiving emergency alerts via text, SMS, email or mobile alert systems.
- InciWeb, an Incident Information System - Provides information on fires and evacuations across the U.S. It is an interagency, all-risk incident information management system, created as a single source of incident-related information for the public.
- American Red Cross of Colorado - Serving Colorado residents through four chapters and hundreds of local, community-based volunteers.
- FloodSmart.gov - Your homeowners insurance DOES NOT cover floods. This site for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from FEMA has information on floods, flooding risk and flood insurance.
Natural catastrophes can happen in an instant. Families and individuals would prepare in advance by having an emergency go-to-bag ready and developing plans to follow before, during and after an event. The Division of Insurance encourages all Colorado residents to be prepared in case of an emergency. Preparation should include having a “to-go bag” for essentials. Some essentials to consider:
Cash: If the power goes out credit cards won’t work so consider keeping some cash on hand.
- But make sure to keep receipts for everything. It will help in making an insurance claim later.
Medication: Pharmacies may be closed and hospitals may be overwhelmed. Consider keeping a backup supply of medications like blood pressure medicine and insulin.
- Also keeping your health insurance information accessible, with your insurance card or cell phone app, can help get prescriptions filled if they are already on record.
Battery Powered Radio: If electricity is out and cell towers are down, this is your only way to know what’s happening.
- Consider keeping a battery backup for your cell phone, charged and with the necessary cords, as a means of getting information and staying in touch.
Insurance Information: Keep a record of your insurance company, agent, policy numbers and phone numbers on your cell phone or download your insurance company’s app. This can help you get started on recovery quickly.
List of Shelters: In this time of social distancing, not all shelters are open. Or, you may need to travel further than you would normally to find shelter. Consider making a list of possible shelters and, if you have a pet, make sure they are pet friendly.
- Local media and your county’s emergency services department can help identify shelter options.
Change of Clothes: If you are forced to be away from home for a few days you will need a change of clothes for each family member.
- Don’t forget a kid’s comfort toy, or collars and leashes for your pets.
A Note About Important Documents - Social Security cards, passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses and more could be lost in a fire or flood. While you usually wouldn't store these important documents with your to-go bag, you should consider storing them electronically, or if you can't do that, securing them in a fireproof and waterproof container.
- Make a list of your belongings before disaster strikes - If you ever have to file a claim, the insurance company will ask for proof of purchase for all items reported on the claim. You should have a comprehensive list of all possessions, including purchase prices, model numbers, and serial numbers; the list should also include pictures of your belongings, especially any high end valuables. You can start simple by using a pad and pencil, but know there are many versions of home inventory checklists available online and as apps for smartphones - and these versions are detailed and thorough. If you create a physical document, be sure to store a copy in a safe place away from your home, or create an electronic copy and email it to yourself.
- Navigating Homeowners Insurance - Includes information about home inventories - from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
- Call your insurance company or your agent to file a claim
- Be ready to answer any questions about the damage
- Keep a record of everyone you talked to at your company and what they told you
- Ask what damage is covered, how much coverage you have, and what your deductible is
- Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly
- Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of your costs if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep receipts for these costs
- If you have an auto policy with comprehensive coverage, call your company to report any damages to the vehicle. Without comprehensive coverage your company will not cover wind, flood, fire or storm related damage.
- Make sure your adjuster and company have your current contact information, particularly if you are sheltering away from your home
- Make temporary repairs to protect your home and property from more damage
- Keep a record of all repair expenses and save receipts
- Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company says it is ok to do so
- Make a list of your damaged property and take pictures and videos
- Do not throw anything away until the adjuster has inspected it
- Remove any standing water and dry the area as soon as possible;
- Move water-soaked items to a dry and secure location
- Make sure your address is visible from the street. Make a sign if necessary
- Try to be there during the insurance inspection to point out all of the damage
- Insurance Tips for Coloradans Impacted by Wildfires
- DOI Shares Insurance Tips in Wake of Giant Wind Storm (a Derecho)
- You've Been Hit with Hail, What's Next? - from the Better Business Bureau of Denver