Fire Mitigation and Home Insurance in the Foothills
The Eisenbach Insurance Agency is in Evergreen, in the foothills of the Rockies, an area many of us consider paradise. Some of our neighbors have just moved here, other families have been here years, decades and even generations.
Over the past couple of years several insurance agencies have left Evergreen in part because the insurance companies they represent are reducing their perceived exposure to wildfire. A large independent agency moved to Thornton in 2013, an Allstate agency moved to Lakewood and an American Family agency closed. Along with insurance companies cancelling some policies, many Evergreen families feel abandoned and frustrated.
Increasing that frustration for property owners in Evergreen, many insurance companies are writing new home insurance policies and THEN sending inspectors to grade the home’s wildfire defensible space, often several weeks later. If the property fails, the homeowner has very little time to either cut trees or shop again for another insurance company. And now insurance companies are inspecting properties they have insured for years inflicting the same frustration and uncertainty on their current clients. To make matters worse, the results are so unpredictable that whether a home passes or fails often hinges only on which inspector is assigned as two inspectors often disagree on a property’s defensible space.
The terrible Colorado Springs fires in 2012 and 2013 show how important fire mitigation is for homeowners and the danger of untrimmed forest pressing in on homes but insurance companies should realize that we are not California.
The Eisenbach Agency will continue to work through these challenges with our insurance companies and our clients because we are in Evergreen and the foothills to stay.
Auto Insurance in the Foothills
Over the past year at the Eisenbach Insurance Agency, several of our clients have been hit by drivers who carried only the minimum coverage required by financial responsibility laws in Colorado. All of these under-insured drivers bought their policies from internet insurers like Esurance and Geico that included only $15,000 of property damage liability. That means that payment for the damage they caused to other people’s cars was limited to $15,000. An amount that (amazingly) is still legal in Colorado but an amount insufficient to replace a modest used car and the average new car is valued at more than twice that amount.
This stresses the importance of protecting ourselves with adequate coverage on our policies. Estimates in Colorado are that one in six drivers has NO insurance which is illegal but those driving legally, covered only up to state mandated amounts that have not been increased in over 30 years, are also a menace and it is easier than ever to buy these irresponsible policies.