Coloradans struggle to navigate insurance after losing a home to wildfire. State lawmakers want to make it easier. |

Coloradans struggle to navigate insurance after losing a home to wildfire. State lawmakers want to make it easier.

Two Colorado lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would shorten and simplify the insurance claims process after a declared fire disaster.

Tatiana Flowers
Colorado Sun
Amanda and Craig Shindledecker, with their son Logan, 5, on Jan. 17, 2022, at their home in Lakewood. The Shindledeckers lost everything to the East Troublesome fire in 2020, which burned more than 190,000 acres near Grand County. “It took us six months to get us our estimate back for a rebuild,” Amanda said. “We’re 15 months post-fire and we’re still in the middle of the plane. Until you go through it, you think your insurance is gonna be there for you — which is not the case.”
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun

Three days before the East Troublesome fire obliterated more than 300 homes, Amanda and Craig Shindledecker left their house in Granby and drove to their other residence in Lakewood to escape the smoke. They made a plan when the fire started: If flames crossed Colorado 125, Craig would drive back to Granby to gather valuables from the house where they had been living during the pandemic.

When that fateful moment came, Craig drove back to Granby, where fire marshals told him to remain calm because the fire was not yet a threat to their house in the Trail Creek Estates neighborhood. But while he was retrieving their belongings, the sky turned orange. When he peered outside, embers were flying all around the house. He decided to leave, and as he drove away, both sides of the valley were on fire around him.

“He managed to save very little of what we had,” Amanda said last week. “He made it out OK, so that was the most important thing.”

The Shindledeckers lost about $350,000 worth of belongings in the East Troublesome fire on Oct. 21, 2020, the day the fire exploded across Grand County, torching about 100,000 acres in a matter of hours as it became one of the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history.

Losing their home was devastating, but the Shindledeckers were unprepared for the frustrations that would come next. More than a year later, they’re still entangled in the insurance claims process.

Read more at The Colorado Sun.

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