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Experts estimate insurance costs from Colorado wildfires near $500M

Posted On Tue, July 24, 2012

The two recent wildfires to sweep across parts of Colorado may result in higher insurance quotes for some residents once all of the damages are totaled, as the combined fires were the most destructive wildfire event ever to take place in the state.

Combined, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association says that the High Park and Waldo Canyon blazes - which dominated news headlines for weeks - have left behind a total of $449.7 million in losses from insurance claims. That number includes smoke damage, rebuilding costs for damaged and destroyed homes, and the price of personal belongings and additional living expenses.

Those damage totals easily surpass those from the previous record event - the Fourmile Fire in 2010 - which left more than $224 million in damage. That kind of extreme damage may result in higher homeowners insurance rates in the future.

"The 2012 Wildfire Season is a heartbreaking reminder to Coloradans that the wildfire threat is very real in our state and can exact a price that is both personally devastating and costly in terms of insurance damage," says Carole Walker, executive director of the RMIIA.

So far, more than 4,000 claims have been filed for the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is estimated to cost more than $350 million. Claims from the High Park Fire are currently estimated at just under $100 million. Combined, the two fires burned more than 600 homes.

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