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How will western wildfires affect insurance rates?

Posted On Mon, August 27, 2012

In 2012, due to the large number of disasters the previous year, homeowners insurance rates skyrocketed - and with the wildfires raging in the West, the rates are likely to rise even higher next year.

Earlier this spring, the continental United States experienced a drought that devastated crops and left many southern cities in a state of emergency. Currently, wildfires are burning across the West, leaving destroyed homes in their wake and driving up insurance losses.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), the two largest fires in Colorado, the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires, cost the state $450 million in insured losses. As of July, those were the two largest wildfires of 2012.

Now, in mid-August, more wildfires of equal measure have erupted in California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington state, among others, potentially bringing the total insured loss dollar amount into the billions.

According to the Alpenhorn News, insurance providers will most likely use these disasters - and the estimated amount of forthcoming disasters - to drive up homeowners insurance rates across the country, especially in areas that are designated as "Hazard Zones."

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