Insurance plays a huge role for residents of Gold Run
Tyler and Ryan Bird are lucky.
Their condo wasn’t one of those destroyed by Friday morning’s blaze and smoke and water damage is covered by insurance.
“We didn’t come out with anything,” said Ryan Bird, an integrative physiology major. “We came out in our boxers.”
The Bird brothers’ parents took out a $40,000 insurance policy on their belongings when the juniors moved into the condo their parents purchased for their use.
“Our parents did it on their own, we took no part in that,” said Tyler Bird, an international affairs major.
Mary and Leslie Hutton, parents of sophomore engineering major Joseph Hutton, also purchased insurance for everything inside of Joseph’s home. The policy is called “inside the door” or “wall to wall” insurance. While the home owners’ association at Gold Run holds the insurance on the structure, it’s up to individuals to insure their belongings.
The Huttons waited to learn the fate of Joseph’s home and belongings at the Gold Run Health Club. They waited and hoped it would be nothing worse than smoke and water damage.
“It costs us about $200 per year and it covers up to $50,000 worth of content.” Mary Hutton said. “Our insurance agent was very helpful and told us to call back as soon as we know what’s happening.”
Not everyone was so lucky. Eric Corliss, director of response for the American Red Cross, said his organization responds to a disaster in the Denver area about once every 30 hours and most don’t have insurance or are under-insured.
Expensive electronics such as televisions, laptop computers and sound systems cause the value of belongings to be higher than most people realize.
“If people have insurance we’ll work with them and their insurance until the insurance kicks in. If not we provide two sets of clothing, a week’s groceries and help with a housing plan,” Corliss said.
Debt cards can also be issued according to individual need and the Red Cross has a nurse available to assist with the replacement of vital medications.
After the initial assistance, the Red Cross refers victims to longer-term assistance agencies such as the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities.
Corliss said renter’s insurance can cost as little as $20 per month, but even if you have insurance there are no guarantees.
“You need to read your policy carefully to see the ‘living clause,'” Corliss said. “The living clause covers your cost of living immediately after a disaster. Some will pay for your cost of living, in others they only reimburse you for living elsewhere, like a hotel.”
With the reimbursement plan victims must pay their living expenses, then insurance will reimburse the insured according to receipts. Corliss said the average person simply does not have the money to pay up-front for two weeks or more in a hotel.
Some tips for disaster recovery:
Get a fireproof home safe or safe deposit box. In that box keep:
*Receipts for major purchases to prove the value of your belongings for insurance adjustors
*Backup of your computer files (updated monthly)
*Copy of your insurance policy
*List of all of the phone numbers in your cell phone
*Copy of your automobile registration, rental policy, your passport and any other important papers
The Red Cross recommends every home keeps a disaster supply kit. Details are at http://www.redcross.org/general/0,1082,0_91_4440,00.html.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Arwyn Rice at email@example.com.