Homeowners challenged to afford high premiums for wildfire insurance

DENVER, Colo. (KUSA) – Near Pearl Street in Boulder, a wildfire seemed unlikely. Yet Democratic State Representative Judy Amabile’s neighbors now face challenges with finding affordable home insurance.

“I am starting to hear some of my neighbors are not getting renewed and I would have never dreamed I was at risk of a wildfire,” said Amabile. “It seems like broad areas certain companies have decided we are not going to insure in this area.”

Amabile said people are scrambling to find insurance coverage including her constituents in northern Colorado.

“They are having to make a lot of calls and the prices have gone up a lot and they are having difficulty finding anything,” she said.

It is why she’s looking to introduce a bill next session that would create a “last-resort” insurance plan provided by the state.

“The plans on that program are going to be really bare bones and they are going to be very expensive,” she said.

According to Amabile, more than 30 other states have plans like this – Colorado is now considering it as the risk of wildfire spreads across the state.

“Across the board, we are seeing 20 to up to 50% increases in renewals,” said independent insurance agent Morgan Lloyd.

Lloyd works in the Denver metro area but helps homeowners across the state find coverage. He said wildfire risk in Colorado is one of the driving factors for higher premiums. He also attributed the increase to inflation, labor shortages and the higher cost of rebuilds.

He’s seen prices go up and some companies denying coverage in certain areas.

“Particularly in mountain areas – west of Golden, particular. Little difficult to find carriers that will take those kinds of risks,” he said.

If Coloradans can’t find anything, Amabile hopes the state can at least offer a backup even if it’s not a lot.

“I don’t think there are many homeowners out there who want to take a risk with the biggest asset they have ever owned and have it not be insured,” she said.

Amabile is also concerned about the impact on the housing market. If someone can’t get homeowners insurance then it’s impossible to secure a mortgage. It really limits who can buy a home.

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