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Colorado Insurance Blog

What Is The Difference Between Full Coverage And Liability-Only Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance is a must for all riders. However, do you know the difference between full coverage and liability-only policies? Here, we’ll break it down for you so that you can make an informed decision about what type of policy is best for you.

What Is Full Coverage Insurance?

Full coverage motorcycle insurance is just what it sounds like – it covers you, your bike, and any damage you may cause up to the limits of your policy. This type of policy typically includes collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as bodily injury and property damage liability.

What Is Liability-Only Insurance?

Liability-only insurance, on the other hand, only covers damage you may cause to another person or their property. It does not cover any damage to your own bike or body. This type of policy is typically much less expensive than full coverage but offers far less protection.

So, Which Type of Policy Is Right for You?

That depends on several factors, including the value of your bike, your riding habits, and your budget. If you own a high-value bike or ride often, full coverage may be the best option. However, if you have an older bike or you only ride occasionally, liability-only insurance may be sufficient.

The thing is, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each type of policy before making a decision. If you’re still unsure which type of policy is right for you in Colorado, Integrity First Insurance can help you make an informed decision.

Give Us A Call

There you have it – a brief overview of the difference between full coverage and liability-only motorcycle insurance. As always, be sure to do your research and consult with an insurance agent before making any decisions about your policy. Integrity First Insurance in Colorado is here to help you find the right policy for you, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof and Why is it Important?

Don’t overlook your roof! This important structure affects more than curb appeal. It’s responsible for protecting many structures and systems.

View of home from the street

The parts of a home that get the most attention tend to be visual, and more or less at eye level: paint color, landscaping, porches, and decks. The roof is the one part of the home that doesn’t tend to get a lot of notice unless the gutters overflow or an enthusiastically tossed toy goes a little too high.

This important structure affects a lot more than your house’s curb appeal – it’s responsible for protecting interior structures from water, ensuring your HVAC system operates efficiently, safeguarding your loved ones in dangerous weather, and, in some cases, making your attic safe storage space.

Roof Age and Replacement Tips

How long does a roof last? Sales pitches for roofing companies can come fast and furious, inviting doubt to creep in over the integrity of the shingles overhead.

Here’s a short intro guide on the various types of roof materials, and when you may want to consider repair, replacement, or maintenance:

Asphalt Shingles

Typically black with a gravel-like surface texture, asphalt shingles are the most common type of domestic home roof material in America. With proper care and upkeep, this type of roof will offer between 15 to 30 years of viable service before you’ll need to replace them entirely. Because of the nature of its overlapping construction, it’s also relatively easy to swap out or replace broken or damaged shingles.

Composition Shingles

Made from a wider variety of materials in a multilayer design that can include fiberglass, composition shingles have a slightly shorter lifespan, between 12 and 20 years before replacement is necessary. Like asphalt shingles, they may become damaged or lost periodically due to weather and exposure but can be replaced as needed.

Wooden Shingles

This type of roofing – as the name suggests – is made out of wood, often cedar for passive pest control, but also woods like cypress, pine, or redwood. This natural material is hardy and offers between 20 and 25 years of use before you will need to replace your wooden roof. While rot and pest-resistant woods and coatings are used, this type of roof material can be vulnerable to problems like moisture, mosses, mildew, and insects.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are durable and industrial, offering between 50 and 75 years of dedicated protection, on average. Because of their overlapping design and potential corrosion, these types of roof coverings are susceptible to leaks, so care must be taken to maintain and assess them regularly, usually bi-annually unless specific issues crop up. If they become dented or warped (think storm-fallen limbs), they can be expensive to repair or replace.

Rubber Roofs

A rarity in domestic neighborhoods and typically the domain of industrial buildings, rubber roofs last between 30 and 50 years before a full replacement is called for. Over time, particularly in hot, sunny, or damp climates, this roofing material may shrink and pull back at its seams, causing issues with peeling and leaks from moisture buildup and pooling.

Do I Need to Replace My Roof?

If you know when your roof was installed and the material falls within the normal lifespan, likely not unless you’re experiencing specific issues. That being said, if you are nearing the end of that lifespan or an in-place warranty is due to expire, it’s a smart move to schedule a full roof assessment.

In addition to regular visual inspections as you walk around your house or in your attic, it’s best to have a roofing company inspect, repair, and maintain your roof at least every other year. If your home is in an area with extreme weather or a great deal of direct sunlight and high temperatures, an annual checkup is an even better idea.

Blog content courtesy of Safeco Insurance

Boat/Watercraft Insurance Offers Summer Peace of Mind

If you’re getting ready to take your boat or watercraft out onto Colorado waterways, it’s important to make sure you have the right coverage. Integrity First Insurance is here to help with that, along with providing peace of mind. Before you get out into the rivers and lakes, take the time to work with a trusted agent on the boat/watercraft insurance policy that’s right for your needs. Understanding what the state requires, and what additional coverage options you might want, can help you feel secure.

Boat/Watercraft Insurance: What You Need To Know

Your boat or other watercraft needs protection against various types of harm, including natural and manmade risks. The right type and level of coverage will give you that, so you can spend time enjoying the weather, instead of worrying about insurance. You also want to make sure you’re covered for any kind of damage you might accidentally cause with your boat or watercraft. It’s much easier to have fun out on the water when you don’t have worries about other boaters and watercraft users in your area.

By reaching out to Integrity First Insurance, you can get the Colorado boat/watercraft insurance you need. When you couple that with a good tune-up on your boat or watercraft, you’ll have covered important areas before you get out on the water. Whether you’re going out by yourself, or taking friends and family along with you, the feeling of confidence that comes from security can be an important part of enjoying the summer months.

Give Us A Call

Contact Integrity First Insurance today, and get the information you need from knowledgeable agents you can rely on. The more you know about coverage for your boat or watercraft, the more easily you can make good decisions about insurance policy options. Then the only ohter thing you’ll need to do is head out to the water and enjoy.

Do You Need to Insure an E-bike?

What is an E-bike?

According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, an E-bike has 2 or 3 wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor that doesn’t exceed 750 watts of power.

There are 3 classes of E-bikes:

Important Colorado E-bike laws:

  • Electronic bicycles are not required to be registered
  • There are no license requirements for E-bikes
  • Generally speaking, Class 1 and 2 E-bikes are allowed to operate on the same paths as conventional bikes, thought local jurisdictions can prohibit operation on specific paths
  • Class 3 E-bikes are only allowed on streets and bike lanes, unless specifically permitted by local jurisdictions
  • There are different rules pertaining to State Park or Wildlife Areas
  • E-bikes must ride in the right-hand lane when traveling a less than the normal speed of traffic on a roadway
  • Riders must signal intent to turn or stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians
  • One hand must be kept on the handlebars at all times
  • Class 3 E-bikes have the following age and helmet restrictions:
    • Operators must be 16 or older (passengers can be under 16)
    • Operators and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet

Does an E-bike have to be insured?

The short answer is no. There aren’t any legal requirements to insure an E-bike. That being said, if you have a loan on an E-bike, your lender will likely require you to carry insurance on it.

Even though you’re not required to have insurance on an E-bike, it’s important to at least have liability coverage. You can go faster on an E-bike than you might otherwise travel on a conventional bike, which makes the risk of crashing a little higher. If you hit a person, fence, house, mailbox, or something else, you could be responsible for the damages. Liability insurance will help you pay for those damages if a situation like that arises.

If you’ve paid a pretty penny for your E-bike, it probably makes sense to get adequate insurance for it. That way if it gets stolen, damaged in a fire, you’re in an accident, or something else happens, you’re not left empty handed.

How to insure an E-bike:

Many homeowners policies will afford some amount of coverage for an E-bike. Some policies may only extend liability, whereas others have a special limit of physical damage coverage included and some may not extend any coverage at all. Each insurance carrier has their own guidelines, so be sure to check what coverage you have on your policy.

Keep in mind that most home policies have a deductible of $1,000 or higher, so if you’re counting on your home policy to cover any damages to your bike you’ll need to cover your deductible before your policy pays out. Depending on the value of your E-bike and your home insurance deductible, it might not make sense to insure it on your home policy.

Many E-bikes cost several thousand dollars, so a total loss might exceed your deductible. But if a $1,200 E-bike was stolen, that’s not a claim I’d recommend filing on a home policy. You’d only get $200 from that claim example, which isn’t worth having a claim against your home insurance since it would likely cause your premium to increase for up to 5 years.

If you don’t have a home policy or if your policy doesn’t provide the coverage you’re looking for, you can generally insure and E-bike on a motorcycle policy. One benefit of that is that you can choose a lower deductible, like $500 or even lower.

Another plus is that you can file a claim without it impacting your home insurance. A claim for a stolen E-bike wouldn’t cause your motorcycle premium to increase like it would if you filed a claim on your home policy.

Insuring an E-bike on a motorcycle policy would also give you the option of Medical Payments and Uninsured Motorist coverage, both of which can be extremely valuable. Medical Payments coverage can help pay for your injuries, regardless of whether you’re at fault for a loss. The limit is usually $5,000 per person, but limits can vary.

Uninsured Motorist coverage will help cover your costs if you’re not at-fault for in an accident and the other person doesn’t have enough coverage. You can get Uninsured Motorist coverage up to the bodily injury liability limits on your motorcycle policy.

Read more about Uninsured Motorist coverage: What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Sources:

Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Colorado Parks and Wildlife. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/E-Bike-Rules.aspx


Electric Bicycles. Electric Bicycles | Colorado General Assembly. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://leg.colorado.gov/content/electric-bicycles

10 Life Changes You Should Tell Your Insurance Agent About

Most people buy insurance for their home and auto and don’t think about it much unless the rates go up or they need to add a new car. The policy you bought 3 years ago might not be the right coverage for you now if you’ve had any life changes.

Here are some examples of changes you should tell your insurance agent about to make sure your coverage reflects your current situation.

1. You’re having a baby or adopting a child

Congrats on the new addition!

Health insurance is probably the only kind of insurance you think about after having a new baby, but it’s important to tailor your insurance portfolio to your current stage of life. That might mean updating your life insurance or increasing your MedPay limits on your auto policy.

2. One of your children is going to college or moving out

Insurance covers members of the household. Anytime the household members change, it’s important to talk to your agent about your policy. If your child moved out, you might need to take them off your auto policy and have them get their own. When a kid is away at college, they can often still be covered by your policy.

Talking to a licensed agent can help you decide the right way to cover your entire family.

3. You got married or moved in with a significant other

When moving in with a significant other, it’s important to adjust your insurance accordingly. You’ll need to list your partner as a driver on your auto insurance, and it often makes sense to combine your insurance for additional savings.

Your marital status can also impact insurance rates, so you might get a slight discount after you get married.

4. You’re moving

It can help alleviate stress if you call ahead of time to get your ducks in a row. You can get a quote for a your new address and have everything set for when your moving day is here. Even if you only have auto insurance, you should still call to update your address.

5. You’re buying a new car, boat, motorcycle, or other recreational vehicle

Whenever you buy a new vehicle, you’ll need to update your auto policy. If you’re buying your first motorcycle, boat or other recreational vehicle, you might need to get a new policy to cover it. It helps to call before you’re ready to purchase your new car or toy so you can have an idea of what the insurance will cost before you sign anything.

6. You’re buying a second home or investment property

Most insurance carriers require each home to be on its own policy. Talk to your agent if you’re considering purchasing a new property so you can get a policy set up.

7. You’re updating or adding onto your home

Whenever you make improvements to your home, your homeowners insurance should be updated. You may need to adjust your dwelling coverage limit to ensure you have enough coverage to rebuild if there was a loss.

8. You’re working from home or starting a business out of your home

Many home policies have limited or no coverage for home businesses. That means any liability risk you have and your business property (like computer or merchandise) may not be covered if there’s a loss. Talk to your agent to go over what your risk is and if there’s any coverage you can add to your policy.

9. You completed more education or changed careers

Higher education usually means bigger discounts on auto insurance, and your career can impact your rates as well.

10. The lender for your car or home changed

Make sure your policies are updated when your loan changes so the correct lender gets important correspondence. Your mortgage company might be responsible for paying your home insurance, so it’s especially important for your policy to have the right mortgage company listed.

4 Facts You Must Know About Umbrella Insurance

If you want to invest in umbrella insurance, you need to get your facts right to make an informed decision. Given that umbrella insurance is one of the most misaligned insurance policies, bumping into myths and misconceptions isn’t uncommon.

Here are the facts you need to know about umbrella insurance, courtesy of Integrity First Insurance, serving many locations in Colorado.

4 Facts You Must Know About Umbrella Insurance

Fact #1: Almost everyone needs umbrella insurance

You will hear some people say that umbrella insurance is for the super-wealthy only. The fact is that umbrella insurance is suitable for anyone earning a livelihood. Since everyone is at risk of lawsuits in America, umbrella insurance is a worthwhile investment to protect your assets.

Fact #2: Umbrella insurance is affordable

You are likely to hear that umbrella insurance is expensive coverage. People usually assume umbrella insurance is a costly affair, perhaps because of the high coverage it gives. The reality is that umbrella insurance is a super-affordable policy because it takes over after the underlying policy has been exhausted. If you still don’t believe it, please get in touch with us for a quote.

Fact #3: Umbrella insurance is liability coverage

Because of the name umbrella, most people assume that umbrella insurance covers all risks. That’s not entirely true. Umbrella insurance is liability coverage — it covers you when accused of bodily injury and property damage by other people. Umbrella insurance won’t cover damage to your property or injuries to yourself.

Fact #4: Umbrella insurance has no geographical limitation

Unlike insurance policies like car or home insurance limited within American borders, umbrella insurance has no geographical limitation. This policy can cover you anywhere and anytime, as long as your policy is updated.

Want more information about umbrella insurance? Of course, there is a lot more you can learn about umbrella insurance. Call us today for more insights on umbrella insurance.

Insurance Claim Terms Broken Down

The claims process can be difficult to navigate, especially when the insurance company is throwing around terms you’ve never heard.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the common terms relating to insurance claims:

Adjuster

An adjuster is the trained claim representative assigned to help you if you file a claim. They’ll examine the damage to your covered property and review your policy to determine what coverage you have. The adjuster is also responsible for issuing payment for your claim.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

Actual Cash Value (ACV) coverage takes depreciation into account at the time of the loss. If you have ACV coverage, your policy won’t pay to replace what is damaged. Instead they will pay the depreciated value, which subtracts for age and condition. ACV is calculated by subtracting depreciation from the replacement cost.

Depreciation

Many items lose value over time due to age, wear and tear and the manufacturing of newer and better products. That reduction in value is known as the depreciation. Cars are notorious for depreciating as soon as they are driven off the lot, but many household items also depreciate.

Replacement Cost

The cost to actually replace a lost or damaged item, regardless of age and condition at the time of loss. For example, if you bought a TV 10 years ago for $300 but it costs $700 to buy a comparable TV today, Replacement Cost coverage would pay the full $700 to replace the TV if you had a covered loss.

Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you have to pay before your insurance company will payout for a claim.  The insurance company will generally subtract the deductible from the total payout.

If you have a $1,000 deductible and had a claim for $4,000, the insurance company would issue payment for $3,000 and you’d be responsible for the other $1,000.

Policy Limits

The dollar limits for each coverage on your specific policy. The policy limits are the maximum amount your policy will pay out under each coverage for a loss. Many policies also have “sublimits” for certain classes of property, like jewelry, coins, or other valuables.

Subrogation

If someone else is responsible for causing damage to your property, your policy may pay for the damage and then seek reimbursement from the responsible party. If the insurance company has received reimbursement, you may get some or all of your deductible back.

Who needs to have a life insurance plan?

In the state of Colorado, the average resident will have various insurance needs. A type of insurance that all people here will need to think about getting is life insurance. This type of coverage will pay out an insurance benefit if the insured party passes away during the term of the policy. There are various situations when someone in this state will want to have this coverage. 

Who needs to have a life insurance plan?

Those that Want to Protect Dependent’s Financial Future

One of the reasons that someone will want to have a life insurance plan in place is so they can protect the financial future of their dependents. If you have people that rely on you as a source of income, it is important that you protect them. A great way that you can do this is by investing in a life insurance plan. With this coverage, you can build a plan that is curtailed to meet your dependent’s needs. 

Those Looking for Alternative Investment

You should also consider getting a life insurance plan as a way to diversify your investments. Through the use of whole life insurance, you can enjoy a conservative investment that is a good addition to any plan. With this type of coverage, some of your payment builds into an account with interest that you can close and liquidate in the future.

Contact Integrity First Insurance today

As you are looking for a new life insurance plan in Colorado, you can quickly find that there are a lot of options to consider. Due to this, speaking with the team at Integrity First Insurance is helpful. The professionals with Integrity First Insurance understand the value of this coverage and can help you evaluate your needs and options. This can ensure you are able to build a plan that is ideal for your situation. 

How to Avoid Contractor Fraud

When there’s a catastrophe, like a fire or hail storm, the likelihood of contractor fraud increases immensely. Here are some tips for picking a reputable contractor and avoiding fraud.

1. Only work with contractors that are licensed

Colorado doesn’t require contractors to be licensed on the state level, so don’t assume that every contractor you encounter has a license. Many counties and cities have specific requirements, but not all local governments require contractors to be licensed.

Licensed contractors are required to have a certain amount of experience and pass an exam. That helps ensure they are qualified in their field.

You can verify the license of a professional you’re considering here: Verify a Colorado Professional or Business License

2. Find a contractor that is insured

If your contractor isn’t insured, you could be responsible for any injuries that occur while they’re working on your property. Request a Certificate of Insurance from any contractors you’re considering to verify their coverage.

3. Work with local contractors when you can

Local contractors have a better idea of the rules and regulations in your area. Not only does that help ensure work is done to code, but it also speeds up the process. If you hire a contractor from another state, there’s a chance you could be waiting longer for them to get permits pulled and inspections done.

A contractor that is local is also less likely to take payment and leave town without completing the work. If you have any issues with the work done, you can often get a local contractor to come back and fix it whereas someone from out of town might leave you high and dry.

4. Check references and reviews

If multiple people have complaints about their experience with a specific contractor, there’s a good chance you’ll also have issues with them. But if you find glowing reviews online and get good references for them, you’ll likely have a better experience.

5. Don’t get pressured into making a hasty decision

You don’t have to sign a contract immediately. Take your time, gets bids from multiple contractors, and make sure you understand the contract before you sign it. If you’re being pressured to sign something on the spot, that might not be a contractor you want to work with.

6. Get everything in writing

According to Travelers, the contract should include:

  • A detailed description of the work to be completed and the price of each item.
  • A payment schedule – for example: one-half down and one-third when work is partially completed, and the balance due upon completion of repairs.
  • The estimated start date and completion date on larger projects.
  • Any applicable guarantees, which should be written into the contract and clearly state what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee, and how long the guarantee is valid.
  • Signatures from both parties. You should never sign a contract containing blank sections.

7. Don’t pay in full for incomplete work up-front

Paying up-front increases the risk of a fraudulent contractor taking your money without completing the work. It also opens the door to poor workmanship and cutting corners because they don’t have to meet certain expectations in order to get paid.

When paying a contractor, pay by check rather than cash. Make the check out to the company rather than an individual.

8. Keep all records together in a safe place

Any paperwork you receive regarding the job should be kept together. Then if you need to reference anything you can find it. It also helps your case if there are any disputes.

This can include anything from the contract, any changes to the contract, estimates, invoices, certificates of insurance, correspondence, etc.

9. If you’re filing a home claim, file it and talk to your adjuster before starting on any work

If you’re repairing your home because of a loss that might be covered by insurance, make sure you file a claim before starting any work.

The insurance company needs to verify coverage before they can approve a claim. If you begin the repairs before an adjuster reviews the damage, your claim could be declined.

10. Report any suspected fraud

You can call local law enforcement, the National Insurance Crime Bureau 1-800-TEL-NICB, or FEMA disaster fraud hotline 1-866-720-5721 to report any suspected fraud.

Sources:

Hiring a contractor checklist and tips. Travelers Insurance. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.travelers.com/resources/home/renovation/checklist-for-hiring-the-right-contractor

Colorado general contractor license and Insurance Requirements. Next Insurance. (2021, December 15). Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.nextinsurance.com/blog/colorado-general-contractor-license-and-insurance-requirements/

Top 4 Reasons Insurance Rates in Colorado are Increasing

1. Volatile Catastrophe Trends

In the insurance industry, a “catastrophe” is a disaster that is unusually severe and meets or exceeds a loss threshold. As of December, 2021, the current dollar threshold to declare an event a catastrophe is $25 Million, according to Insurance Information Institute. Some examples of catastrophic events include tornadoes, hailstorms, high wind, flooding, hurricanes and wildfires.

Colorado does see some flooding and tornadoes, but the largest losses come from wildfires and hailstorms. Colorado has the 3rd highest wildfire risk in the US and had the 2nd most hail claims filed between 2018-2020.

Wildfire

Insurance Information Institute reported that as of October, 2021, Colorado has 373,900 properties with “high to extreme wildfire risk.” That makes up 17% of the properties in the state. With so many properties at risk of being damaged or destroyed by wildfire, insurance companies have to plan accordingly.

Colorado’s highest catastrophic payouts since 2017:

May 8, 2017 Denver Metro Hailstorm: $2.3 Billion

2018 Front Range & CO Springs Top 3 Hailstorms:  $276.4 Million, $169 Million, $172.8 Million

2020 East Troublesome Fire: $543 Million

2021 Marshall Fire: Over 1000 structures destroyed and estimated $1 Billion in damages

Catastrophe Facts and Statistics- RMIIA

The high wildfire risk in Colorado means higher rates across the state. But insurance companies charge more for insurance on homes that have the highest risk. They do this by assigning each property a Protection Class (PC) or Brushfire Score, which determines the risk of fire and the responding fire department’s ease of access and resources. The higher the PC or Brushfire Score, the higher the premium charged to insure that property.

Read more: What You Should Know About Wildfires and Insurance

Colorado has the 3rd highest wildfire risk in the US and had the 2nd most hail claims filed between 2018-2020.

Hail

Hail has been a problem in Colorado for as long as I can remember, but the number and severity of claims have increased significantly over the past decade. Part of that is due to the increasing population in the state. The more homes that are built on the Front Range, the more targets there are for hail to hit.

Between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019, Denver and Colorado Springs were in the top 5 cities for hail losses, with Denver at #2 and Colorado Springs at #3, according to an Insurance Journal article. Insurance companies in Colorado pay out hundreds of millions, if not over a billion dollars for hail damage every single year. Most companies have higher deductibles for wind and hail losses to help mitigate the risk. They also have to charge an adequate amount for both auto and home insurance.

2. Traffic Accidents

There are three major factors causing the number and severity of traffic accidents to rise in Colorado: Booming Population, Impaired Driving, and Distracted Driving.

Population Growth

It’s no secret that the population in Colorado is increasing at a rapid rate. According to U.S. News, the 2020 Census showed that Colorado was 6th fastest-growing state from 2010-2020, with a 14.8% growth. Unfortunately, traffic infrastructure has not kept pace with the population growth, leaving many roads on the front range gridlocked more frequently than not. More cars on the road directly correlates with accident frequency.

Distracted Driving

In addition to the heavier traffic, dangerous driving activities are becoming more common. Nearly everyone has a smart phone, and most people don’t put their phone on “Do Not Disturb” when they get behind the wheel. Distracted driving can include anything that takes focus away from the road, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, reading, and more.

According to CDOT’s 2021 annual survey:

91% of participants reported driving distracted in the past seven days.
54% admitted to reading a message on their phones.
Nearly 50% talked on a cell phone while driving.
41% sent a message while driving.

CDOT also reported that in 2020, 10,166 crashes in Colorado involved distracted drivers. Those accidents caused 1,476 injuries and 68 deaths.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is also contributing to more severe and frequent accidents. The total number of fatal crashes has increased by 37% from 2011 to 2021. Fatalities involving drivers that tested positive for drugs increased by 39.3% from 2015 to 2019. Drivers with a BAC over the legal limit were involved in 8.6% more fatal accidents during that same time.

From 2020 to 2021, the number of DUIs involving marijuana went up by 48%. While not all DUI incidents end in an accident, the increase in risky driving behavior certainly impacts the frequency of crashes.

With impaired and distracted driving causing more crashes, injuries and fatalities, insurance companies are paying out more for auto claims in Colorado. Higher medical costs are also impacting the higher payouts for auto accidents. Berkley Accident and Health reported that treatment costs increased by 6% in 2020 and another 7% in 2021.

Unfortunately when accident frequency and severity increases, we all pay the price. The more insurance companies pay out in claims, the more rate increases they are forced to take in order to remain solvent in the state.

3. Supply Shortages

There have been worldwide supply shortages since the pandemic started in 2020, which have led to inflated prices across most industries. Since the materials for home construction and auto parts are more expensive, insurance payouts are also inflated.

Auto Part Shortages

According to the Consumer Price Index, the cost of auto parts have increased by 14.2% from March 2021-March 2022. Insurance companies generally consider a vehicle a total loss if it will cost more than 70% of the vehicles value to repair the damage. That means more cars are being totaled because of the inflated repair costs.

Both new and used cars are also much more expensive than they were a few years ago. Supply chain disruptions have made it harder for manufacturers to produce enough new vehicles. There were 7.7 Million fewer vehicles produced in 2021, largely due to the microchip shortages. The shortfall of new vehicles directly impacts the price of used vehicles.

Price increases from March 2021 – March 2022:

New Vehicles: 12.5%

Used Vehicles: 35.3%

Motor Vehicle parts and equipment: 14.2%

*According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

As the values of used vehicles increase, the payouts for total losses get higher. With insurance companies paying out more, the cost of insurance also goes up.

Building Material Shortages

On top of the rising costs impacting auto insurance, the costs of building materials have also soared because of supply chain shortages. Lumber prices jumped 42% in the first year of the pandemic, and steel mill products rose 81% in the first three quarters of 2021. Throughout 2021, the price of materials for new construction increased by over 18%.

The inflated cost of materials alone has led to much higher prices for rebuilding homes that have been damaged. Just like with auto insurance, higher home claim payouts leads to home premium increases.

On home policies, insurance companies are increasing rates to keep up with the amount they are paying out for claims but premiums are also rising due to higher coverage amounts. Since it costs more to rebuild a home, the amount of coverage you have on your home policy is likely also increasing.

There’s a good chance that if your policy was written more than a year ago, you don’t have enough coverage to rebuild your whole home.

You may have been able to rebuild your home for $150/square foot 4 or 5 years ago, but now it might cost closer to $275/square foot. As a result, your dwelling coverage (Coverage A) needs to increase to ensure your home is properly insured.

Many homeowners found out they were underinsured after the Marshall Fire, which is largely due to the rapid inflation seen in the past several years. If you haven’t review your home coverage with a licensed agent recently, I highly recommend you do. There’s a good chance that if your policy was written more than a year ago, you don’t have enough coverage to rebuild your whole home.

Read more: If Your Home Burned Down, Would You Have Enough Coverage?

4. Labor Shortages

You can walk into almost any business and see a “Help Wanted” sign on the door. It’s no secret that there are labor shortages across most industries. The shortage of workers has directly impacted the supply shortages, but even when the supplies are available many industries don’t have enough people to actually do the work.

Auto Technician Shortages

There’s currently a deficit of trained auto technicians to work on repairing damaged vehicles. To keep up with demand, there needs to be 3 times as many qualified technicians. The shortfall of auto technicians is causing higher auto repair costs and longer repair times.

When it takes longer to repair a vehicle, the insurance companies end up paying for a rental car for longer which also increases the claim payout amount.

Skilled Construction Labor Shortages

When it comes to home construction, there’s a shortfall of at least 200,000 skilled trade workers. That has led to more expensive bids for both home repairs and new construction. Not only are skilled workers charging more for their labor, but the amount insurance companies are paying for Additional Living Expenses is much higher.

Most home policies come with coverage for Additional Living Expenses, so if you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss they will pay for the additional expenses you incur as a result. That includes a hotel or long-term rental, restaurant expenses if you don’t have a kitchen to cook in, dry cleaning bills if you don’t have access to a washer and dryer, and more. If takes 6 months longer to rebuilt your home after a loss, the insurance company is paying those expenses for longer.

At the end of the day, the amount insurance companies pay out for claims directly impacts the amount they charge for insurance. All of the reasons listed above are causing insurance companies to pay out more than they have in the past. As a result, the cost of auto and home insurance are increasing accordingly.

Sources:

Boyd, S. (2021, January 29). Marijuana Dui Arrests Up 48% In Last Year Across Colorado. CBS Denver. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://denver.cbslocal.com/2021/01/29/marijuana-dui-colorado-arrests-alcohol/

Catastrophe Facts & Statistics. RMIIA. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2022, from http://www.rmiia.org/catastrophes_and_statistics/catastrophes.asp#:~:text=The%20most%20destructive%20wildfire%20in,and%20auto%20insurance%20claims%20filed

Davis Jr., E. (2021, April 28). 2020 census shows America’s fastest-growing states | best … U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/these-are-the-10-fastest-growing-states-in-america

Distracted driving. Colorado Department of Transportation. (2022, April 4). Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.codot.gov/safety/distracteddriving

Facts + Statistics: Wildfires. Insurance Information Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires

Spotlight on: Catastrophes – Insurance Issues. Insurance Information Institute. (2021, December 13). Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.iii.org/article/spotlight-on-catastrophes-insurance-issues

Top states, cities for insurance claims for hail damage. Insurance Journal. (2020, April 28). Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2020/04/28/566579.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, April 12). Table 7. consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city average, by expenditure category, 12-month analysis table – 2022 M03 results. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.t07.htm

Unni, C. (2021, November 29). The Pandemic’s Lasting Effects: Medical Costs Projected to Rise 6.5% in 2022. Berkley Accident and Health. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.berkleyah.com/the-pandemics-lasting-effects-medical-costs-projected-to-rise-6-5-in-2022/

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