A Colorado Homeowner’s Guide To Natural Disaster-Caused Property Damage

Jon Topolewski
By: Jon Topolewski
PublishedMay 27, 2024
3 minute read

Living in Colorado means facing potential threats from wildfires, floods, and severe storms. Research shows that the number of natural disasters in Colorado has more than tripled in 20 years. Familiarizing yourself with the risks and taking proactive measures to prevent costly damage can help you protect important assets. 

I want to help you learn how to prepare your property, document losses, and navigate the claims process in the event of a natural disaster so that you can begin to recover sooner. 

Bottom Line: 

Colorado homeowners pay some of the nation’s highest insurance rates. And when catastrophe strikes, homeowners count on their insurance companies to come through for them. Unfortunately, claims are denied all too often.

In this article: 

Types of Natural Disasters Affecting Colorado Homeowners 

In Colorado, a natural disaster is a serious event that causes widespread damage, property loss, injury, or death that affects a large area. The following account for most Colorado insurance claims. 


Floods have had a catastrophic impact on Coloradans and their homes throughout history. The U.S. Department of Interior says flooding in the Centennial State can happen one of two ways: 

  1. Heavy rainfall or snowmelt covers a large area of land
  2. Isolated cloudbursts create conditions for a flash flood

Despite floods being the most common and widespread natural hazards in Colorado, insurance companies don’t offer flood coverage through standard home insurance policies. 

Why Flood Coverage Doesn’t Come With Home Insurance 

Flood damage is costly for insurers because it can cause a cascade of problems for your home, including:
  • foundation damage
  • electrical damage
  • mold and mildew growth
  • liability related to debris-related injuries 

Insurance providers claim that if flood damage were included in even the most comprehensive policy, premiums for other kinds of policies would go up, making home insurance unaffordable for many Americans. 

Invest in Flood Insurance Separately

Homeowners may purchase a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Your home insurance provider should be able to sell this to you through the NFIP.


Wildfires have had a catastrophic impact on Coloradans, especially in recent years. A recent analysis from the Colorado State Forest Service found that more than one million people live in areas with a moderate to very high risk that wildfire activity could occur. 

How Insurance Companies Handle Wildfires

Fortunately, most homeowners insurance covers property losses caused by wildfires, and coverage continues to be available in most wildfire-prone areas, though it is exceedingly more expensive. Getting coverage also depends on risk factors associated with your property. Insurance providers value the building materials used in your home and its proximity to firefighting resources like hydrants and stations. Your willingness to mitigate the area around your home could seal the deal. 

Take Action to Complete Wildfire Mitigation 

Regularly removing bark mulch, needles, and other flammable materials on your property can keep a wildfire away from physical structures like your house. Some insurers require on-site inspections and will notify policyholders of necessary mitigation to keep their homes insurable. 

Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Whether Colorado is geographically located in the west or the midwest always seems to be up for debate. However, what’s not up for debate is the fact that Colorado experiences an average of 53 tornadoes annually. These violent weather systems typically occur on Colorado’s eastern plains away from the state’s mountainous region. But, in 2023, a tornado touched down south of Denver in Highlands Ranch mere miles from the Foothills. 

Extreme Weather Events Bring Hail

While tornadoes are often responsible for major property damage, hail can also cause severe damage. It can wreck homeowner’s roofs, chimneys, windows, sidings, and gutters. 

In 2023 alone, Coloradans reported seeing hail stones one inch in diameter or greater almost 800 times. That’s about the size of a paper clip, which may not seem heavy but probably wouldn’t feel pleasant if it fell from the sky and hit you at 25 mph. Now imagine hail stones even bigger pelting your roof at 40 mph. The bigger the hail stone, the faster it falls and the more damage it can cause. 

How Insurance Companies Handle Hail

Insurance providers claim they will generally cover hail damage once your deductible is met. However, your insurance company might try to pay for only the part of your roof that was damaged, not the whole thing

This is a problem homeowners have repeatedly encountered with insurance companies. Usually, a contractor tasked with fixing the roof will recommend replacing the whole thing to prevent leaks, but your insurance company won’t cover the total cost. As a result, you may end up footing the bill for most of that new roof. Not only is that unfair, but it may become grounds for a bad faith insurance case. 

Assessing Property Damage After a Natural Disaster

First thing’s first: If a natural disaster has created a risk to your property’s liveability, contact your insurance provider. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can begin recovery. 

Take Stock of the Situation

Once you have filed your claim, it’s time to assess the damage. The key here is to document everything you can. 

Document the Damage

There should be corroborating evidence of a natural disaster. However, you are responsible for documenting damage to your property. Take photos, record videos, and create an itemized list of all damaged or destroyed items so you can get the settlement you deserve. 

Document Conversations With Your Insurance Provider

Send a follow-up email after every call to create a paper trail with important details about your case. Ask for timelines, and don’t be afraid to nudge them if necessary. 

In Colorado, insurance companies have 60 days to decide on or pay out a valid homeowner’s insurance claim. If the insurer fails to meet this deadline, the state could penalize the company by requiring them to pay you what can only be described as a form of interest on your claim. 3 CCR 702-5

Know When to Hire an Attorney 

If you suspect your home insurance provider is acting in bad faith after a natural disaster wreaked havoc on your property, call Robinson & Henry at 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment.

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