Colorado sees major increases in homeowners insurance

State is now in top 10 for catastrophic claims

DENVER - Colorado homeowners are seeing a major spike in their homeowners insurance premiums, following a series of catastrophic events.

Standing outside his South Denver home, Jay Tilton still can't believe his homeowners insurance premium shot up from $824 in 2011 to $1150 this year.

"I was shocked it went up that much," said Tilton. "I think they're trying to make money and use the wildfires as an excuse."

But the wildfires aren't the reason behind premium increases for people all over Colorado, according to state insurance industry spokeswoman Carole Walker.

"It's because, for the first time, Colorado is in the top ten states for catastrophic claims," said Walker.

Walker said that for years now, Colorado has established a pattern of catastrophic events -- from billion-dollar hail storms in 2009 to devastating tornadoes to damaging blizzards.  Combine that with larger homes that are more expensive to replace, and insurance companies see increased risk,

"Really, they're just making sure when we have billion dollar hail seasons and historic wildfire damage that they're going to be able to pay out those claims," said Walker. "Homeowners insurance is still affordable in Colorado compared to states like Florida and Texas, where you see billion-dollar hurricane seasons."

But homeowners such as Tilton don't buy it.  His property taxes just went up this year with his insurance, and he's tired of feeling the financial squeeze.

"It just feels like big government and big corporations taking advantage of the small guys," said Tilton.

Walker said it's important to keep insurance coverage, but ask about changing your deductible and ask about potential discounts to save money.


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