5 Colorado Natural Disaster Risks and How to Protect Yourself

Colorado is known for its magnificent natural beauty, rugged outdoor spaces, and diverse features. But it can also be home to a wide variety of potential natural disasters and dangers. This makes the right insurance coverage essential for all Colorado residents.

How can you help protect yourself from these hazards in advance, and what type of insurance does each potential natural disaster call for? Here are some answers.

1. Tornadoes

While Colorado isn't as well known for its tornadoes the way many of its neighboring states are, they do occur throughout the state. There isn't much the average Coloradan can do to prevent tornadoes, but you can minimize damage on your property by installing secure, braced doors and using impact-resistant windows. Keep debris cleared from the yard and ensure that trees are properly pruned. 

The good news is that nearly all homeowners and vehicle insurance policies cover tornado damage as a standard line item. You may want to check your particular policies regarding wind damage, though, as tornadoes can be classified differently than straight-line wind damage. In addition, ask about insurance discounts for protective home improvements. 

2. Hail

Hail is relatively common in many parts of Colorado, and the damage can range from cosmetic to a total loss. You can protect yourself from hail loss by keeping up with maintenance on the building because the structure itself is your home’s most valuable protection against hail damage. Whenever possible, store cars inside a three-sided carport or a garage. 

As with wind damage, home, vehicle, and renters insurance generally cover hail damage. However, not all hail damage may be included in some policies. Cosmetic damage — damage that doesn’t affect the function of the car or building — may be excluded. Small hailstorms often leave this type of damage, so each person should consider what type of repairs they can afford to cover on their own. 

3. Floods

Colorado has experienced several large-scale flood events in its history, including the Big Thompson flood in 1976. Smaller floods can happen during both rainy seasons and due to melting snow. Home and business owners, as well as vehicle owners, should carry flood coverage in many areas.

Flood insurance, though, is a special insurance situation. Most standard home and commercial policies generally exclude outside flooding from their coverage. You may buy flood insurance separately through the National Flood Insurance Program or through private flood insurance carriers, and you can purchase the policy on its own or bundle it with other home policies. 

4. Snow and Ice Storms

While many people who are new to Colorado might be surprised to learn that it suffers 

tornadoes, very few would be surprised to know that it can get heavy snow and ice storms too.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from snow and ice storms is to stock up and stay home. Ice can be deceptive, and many drivers underestimate how dangerous driving on it can be. Prepare your home by keeping up on roof and gutter maintenance. Inspect surrounding trees — including your neighbors' if possible — before winter and after storms to remove any broken or damaged branches. 

Roof and structural damage from heavy snow and ice is generally a covered peril in homeowners policies. However, tenants should check that they have their own renters coverage. Keep in mind that if your unit's roof is damaged, your property owner’s insurance likely covers the structure. However, your wet belongings the property owner’s insurance does not cover your wet belongings. 

5. Wildfires

Unfortunately, like many Western states, Colorado has seen an increase in the number of wildfires. Both rural and urban landowners should follow wildfire protection plans by creating fire protection zones around homes and businesses.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends a three-zone-method that reduces combustible materials around the house, keeps flames as low to the ground as possible, and reinforces structures.

Fires are a common inclusion in home and vehicle insurance plans. Both home and business owners should also look for an additional coverage that provides temporary housing in the event of a covered fire. This may be called business continuity coverage in commercial policies. Because fire can cause a variety of problems that render structures unsafe or uninhabitable, it's important to have additional expenses paid for. 

Want to know more about any of these common Colorado dangers? The more you know about how to reduce the risk to yourself and your home or vehicle, the better you can prepare. And the more you understand how insurance is affected by each, the more you can target your coverage to your particular needs. 

L.A. Insurance can help. We have worked with Colorado residents for almost 30 years. Call today to learn how we can help you make your family and your finances safer so you can enjoy the best Colorado has to offer without suffering from its hazards.