Insurance rates are up in Summit County as Colorado sees more frequent natural disasters |

Insurance rates are up in Summit County as Colorado sees more frequent natural disasters

The Sugarloaf Fire in the Williams Fork Range, on June 28, 2018, near Silverthorne.
Photo by Hugh Carey / Summit Daily archives

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that claim history is one of several factors that determine a customer’s insurance premium.

FRISCO — Those attempting to purchase auto insurance on Colorado’s Front Range know that their premiums are much more expensive due to the high frequency of damaging hail storms. However, the impact of natural disasters affects Summit County as well with the threat of fire danger and the higher cost of building in Summit County. 

Nathan Barber, a content specialist for insurance comparing service QuoteWizard, reported in an email to the Summit Daily that Colorado has the third highest insurance rate increase in the country.  

“QuoteWizard found that increased frequency and severity of natural disasters have increased home insurance rates in Colorado by 75% or $620 from 2007 to 2016,” Barber said.

According to Laura Mortiner, who works for Frisco’s Doug Berg Agency with Farmers Insurance, said that there has been a statewide increase in insurance premiums and claims. 

“Basically it’s all over the board but most of the disasters are hail and wind in the northern region,” Mortiner said. 

Despite natural disasters concentrating in certain areas of Colorado, Mortiner said that this still affects the state as a whole as many companies have increased all rates in the state due to more claims coming from Colorado. Yet with an overall increase, there is some variance in rates depending on a client’s zip code. 

Mortiner said she’s looking at a 2% to 5% increase in overall premiums, but, for example, Denver residents have higher premiums because of traffic while the more rural Weld County has high rates due to more frequent natural disasters such as hail and tornadoes.  

Summit County’s higher rates are attributed to higher fire danger, according to Mortiner. There is no question that wildfire danger is increasing in Summit County, as the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District stated in their 2018 annual report that wildfires have increased by 88% over the last five years.

In addition to fire threats is the fact that getting building materials to Summit County is much harder than getting building materials to a city like Denver. 

“We’ve had a lot of fires and they’ve just decided that the cost of building those places again is three times the amount than in northern Colorado,” Mortiner said. 

Benjamin Palmer, public affairs specialist from State Farm, said when it comes to natural disasters, claim history is among several factors that determine a customer’s insurance premium.

So if history begins to show that something like frequent wildfires in Summit County are here to stay, insurance rates are likely to increase for Summit County customers. 

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