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Marshall Fire victims may lose insurance coverage as one-year anniversary approaches

Families who may have only signed up for 12-month Additional Living Expenses through their insurance company may lose coverage on Dec. 31
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Posted at 9:56 AM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-15 11:56:34-05

SUPERIOR, Colo. — It's been almost a year since the Marshall Fire displaced hundreds of families.

As we approach the one-year mark at the end of December, it also means some victims may be losing critical insurance coverage they've been receiving for the past 12 months while they work to rebuild.

Jill Sellars lost her home in the Sagamore neighborhood in Superior. She said the rebuilding process has been slower than expected.

"We are hopeful that we are going to be celebrating next Christmas in our home here," she said.

Since losing everything, Sellars has been getting assistance through her Additional Living Expenses, or ALE insurance.

"They've been paying for all of our additional living expenses, our rent, even extra driving time to work. So that's been a godsend for us. We are fortunate to have had a 24-month policy. So we're so grateful for that."

However, that is not the case for all.

Colorado law requires insurance companies to offer up to 24 months of ALE insurance but there's an option to purchase a 12-month policy. Fire victims who may have selected that choice may soon be running out of coverage.

"This is a heartbreaking situation," said Carole Walker, Executive Director for Rocky Mountain Insurance Association. "If someone just purchased 12 months, they’ve lost their home, that will be expiring as we reach the anniversary."

She suggests contacting your insurance company who will work with people on a case-by-case basis to see what they can do, especially if there were delays in the rebuilding process.

She also said you may be eligible for help through FEMA.

"Even if you didn’t qualify for the rebuilding of your home, you may qualify for additional living expenses through FEMA now," added Walker. "We also hope there are charitable dollars available."

For Jill, even the two-year coverage is nerve-wracking.

"With the market or with the way things are, it can take one little thing that they can't get in, to delay it by a month," she said.

She's hoping her home will be finished before time runs out.

"I think about the home being built constantly. We are just so excited. We want to get back in our house so bad. We want to get back to our neighborhood," she said.