State leaders, insurance experts outline how Marshall Fire victims can get help


SkyFOX view of people at destroyed locations from Marshall Fire (KDVR)

DENVER (KDVR) — Owners of the 991 destroyed buildings and 125 damaged structures across the Marshall Fire burn scar are being told to brace for incoming aid from insurance companies.

With so many people either suffering heavy damage to their property or in some cases, complete losses, leaders are telling victims to get their insurance processes rolling immediately.

People across Boulder County are ready to get on the road to rebuilding, and while the area is mostly dealing with buildings that were completely ruined, there are others wondering what to do about property damage.

“Even if you didn’t lose your home, you were lucky enough that your home is standing, you likely have smoke damage or other types of damage,” said Carole Walker, Rocky Mountain Insurance Association executive director. “So what we’re suggesting is document and make some temporary repairs and with those temporary repairs, hang on to those receipts.”

The state’s insurance commissioner made it clear that this includes little things as well.

“Keep receipts for things you normally wouldn’t keep receipts for,” said Commissioner Mike Conway, “so things like that toothbrush or the toothpaste that you are buying for your kids in order to replace the toothbrush and toothpaste that they lost.”

Walker said companies should be a great source of help for the insured.

“The damage from this fire will be covered under standard homeowners and renter’s insurance policy for the structure of your home and all of your stuff. So document, document, document. Take pictures, take photographs,” said Walker.

For those without insurance, FEMA’s individual insurance assistance program is there to help.

“It provides funds for temporary housing, housing repair, underinsured or hazard mitigation systems. As of (Wednesday) morning, 848 people have registered with FEMA for the transitional sheltering assistance, which is a FEMA individual assistance program. That number is low, but we expect it to grow,” said Stan Hilkey from the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Those seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency or insurance assistance can visit the Disaster Assistance Center in Lafayette where people are standing ready to help.

The state also announced the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program got federal clearance from the president.

“DUA is a federal program that allows individuals, whose livelihoods have been interrupted because of a declared disaster event, to receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed individuals who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance benefits,” explained Joe Barela, director at the Department of Labor and Employment.

If you want to be considered for this program, you will need to get that unemployment claim in by Feb. 2, here.

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