Consumer Advisory: Division of Insurance Offers Tips After Tornado, Hail and Thunderstorms Sweep Through the State

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Vincent Plymell

Severity of recent storms means insurance companies will be busy.

DENVER - An intense two days of extreme weather culminated Thursday in a super cell tornado in the Highlands Ranch area, just south of Denver, along with thunderstorms, hail and large amounts of rainfall throughout the state. With all of that, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is providing information for people with homes or cars damaged by the storms. 

Tips for dealing with storm damage and insurance

  • Start the claim process - With the severity of recent storms, and the breadth of storms across the state, insurance companies and agents will be busy. However, because of all the expected activity, it is important to contact your  insurance company or agent as soon as you can to begin the claim process. Contact the DOI if you need the contact information for your company or agent.
  • Document / mitigate the damage - If the damage to your home or car is extensive, when it is safe to do so, start taking photos to document damage. Again, because the insurance companies will be dealing with so many people due to these storms, it is critical to take photos as adjusters may not get to you immediately. And many companies allow you to submit photos when you file a claim. You can also mitigate further damage by placing tarps on roofs, boarding up windows or placing plastic sheeting over windows or windshields, or covering cars. .
  • Be aware of your deductibles for both home and auto - Remember that you are responsible for paying the deductible amount. Review your policy declarations to find out the deductibles. With homeowners’ insurance, many policies will have wind / hail deductibles that are a percentage of your coverage (for example, 1%, 2% or 5%). If damage estimates for either auto insurance or homeowners’ insurance are below your deductible, the company will not issue a payment.
  • Ask questions - After you file your claim, your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to work with you to assess the damage. Once the adjuster has completed their assessment, they will provide documentation of the loss to your insurance company to determine your claims settlement. Be sure to ask the claims adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer. If there is a disagreement about the claim settlement, ask the company for the specific language in the policy that is in the question. If this disagreement results in a claim denial, make sure you obtain a written letter explaining the reason for the denial and the specific policy language under which the claim is being denied.
  • Don't rush into a settlement - If the first offer made by an insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement. If you have any questions regarding the fairness of your settlement, seek professional advice.
  • Estimates for repair costs can change - Remember, the first estimate for repairs is not always the final estimate. Contractors or body repair shops may often find additional damage once repairs begin. In these cases, it is important to provide additional information about this damage to your insurer before allowing repair work to continue. Improvements or repair work for damage that was not part of the storm will not be covered. 
  • Contact the DOI – While your claims need to be filed with your insurance company, the DOI can assist consumers with questions about insurance and the claims process. Contact the DOI Consumer Services Team at: 303-894-7490 / / (click on “File a Complaint”).

Know what’s in your policy
Because it is summer in Colorado, we can expect more severe weather like we’ve seen in the past days. If your home or car wasn’t damaged in recent days, you may not be as lucky the next time. Which is why it is important to become familiar with your homeowners’ and auto insurance policies. Ask your company or agent if there is anything you don’t understand. Also, review your policy and coverage limits annually to make sure the policy keeps pace with your needs and costs in your area. The worst time to figure all of this out is when you need to file a claim, especially if you’re dealing with major damage. 

Visit the Division’s website “Are You Disaster Ready?” for more information about how you can be better prepared for disasters and severe weather events.


About the Division of Insurance:

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745

About DORA:

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675

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