Most home insurance policies cover 12 months of “additional living expenses”. For some Marshall Fire survivors, that means coverage could end on December 30.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – The Colorado Division of Insurance is urging Marshall Fire survivors to review their home insurance policies because funding to support them while they wait to rebuild may expire at the end of the year.

Most insurance plans provide Extra Living Expenses Funding, or ALE, for one year to cover short-term costs like food and hotel bills, as well as rent for people whose homes are destroyed, said Vincent Plymell of the state insurance division.

“It’s designed to cover expenses when someone is evicted from their home due to a fire,” he said. “People will have ALE benefits in their home insurance typically for 12 or 24 months. Twelve is most common.”

Additional two-year coverage is often offered for a fee, he said.

That means many survivors of the Marshall Fire may not have coverage on Dec. 30, the one-year mark since the blaze.

“It’s very important that people look for ways to extend them if possible,” Plymell said.

He recommends survivors apply for an FTA extension by:

  • Check your policy to determine the amount of ALE coverage you have.
  • Contact your insurer and request an extension for a specific term if you have a reconstruction contract in place.
  • If you think your insurance company delayed part of your claim, request that delay as an extension.

If none of those options work, he said people can also file a complaint with the Insurance Division.

“We can’t require a company to automatically extend their FTA benefits, but if people feel there’s been a delay, we can dig into that and investigate it,” Plymell said.

Plymell said the Marshall fire also served as a wake-up call for people outside of Boulder County. Twelve months of FTA may not be enough for people as natural disasters like wildfires start to impact people in more suburban environments.

“It’s something people should really consider now. It might not be good for some, but it’s something worth considering,” he said. “Now is the time to take a look at your home insurance and familiarize yourself with the policy.”

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