Home Prices Soar in Aspen, CO Due to Fires and Climate Change
Posted by Risk Management Partners Insurance Agency on
Imagine you’re living in Colorado, the stunning state known for its majestic mountains, lush forests, and pristine landscapes. But lately, something’s been happening that’s raising eyebrows–soaring home prices. Yes, you read that right. Home prices are skyrocketing, and there’s an unexpected reason behind it–climate change.
Climate Change and Home Prices
Over the past decade, something remarkable and concerning has been unfolding. You see, a decade ago, experts predicted that the devastating California wildfires would eventually spread their fiery fingers into Colorado. And guess what? That prediction is becoming a reality. Just two years back, a massive wildfire crept dangerously close to the beautiful town of Aspen. It was like a wakeup call, setting off a series of events, and one of the consequences is skyrocketing home insurance premiums.
Premiums on the Rise
Let’s talk about these premiums for a moment. A few years ago, insuring a $5 million dream home in this picturesque state would have set you back about $7,000 a year. Now, though, things have taken a dramatic turn. Hold on to your hat because that same policy now demands a hefty $35,000 to $40,000. Yes, you read that right. Premiums have jumped, not just a bit, but significantly.
The good news is that you can still find insurance for your Colorado home, which is more than what some places can say. For example, Florida residents face a tougher situation with far fewer options.
One been diligently renovating his multi-million-dollar Aspen home for a year and a half. But when the renovations were complete, he faced a jaw-dropping $35,000 premium.
When responses from various insurance companies, and the majority of them were reluctant to insure it at all. Why? Well, it’s because Colorado is already bustling with business, and these insurers are a bit cautious about adding more homes to their books.
The client hailed from Florida, a place no stranger to insurance premium shocks due to hurricanes.
The Vulnerability of Aspen
Now, it’s essential to understand why insurance companies are playing it safe in Colorado. The reality is, every house in Aspen, that picturesque paradise, is vulnerable. You might be wondering why. Many of these houses are tucked far away from the nearest fire station, and this raises a red flag for insurers. They’re concerned that if a fire breaks out, it might turn into an inferno before the fire brigade can even arrive.
Now, let’s put a price tag on this risk. A house in Aspen isn’t just about the building itself. It’s about everything within–the contents, personal belongings, and even loss of rent if you can’t live there after a disaster. When you add up all these numbers, we’re talking about a significant sum–maybe around $10 million. That’s a substantial risk for insurers.
The Climate Crisis and Its Unpredictable Impact
So, what’s fueling this increase in insurance premiums? It’s all linked to the climate crisis. This ongoing crisis is making disasters more unpredictable. In the past, actuaries and insurance companies could predict with reasonable accuracy what an insurance company would pay out in the next few years. Their rates were based on these calculations.
However, here’s where the problem lies–predictions haven’t been as reliable in recent years. Everything seems to have gone haywire, and surprises have become the new normal. This unpredictability has put insurance companies on high alert; they’re in a state of panic.
The Rising Costs of Reinsurance
But the complications don’t stop there. Reinsurance costs have shot up, and that’s the next piece of the puzzle. You might be wondering, what’s reinsurance? Well, insurance companies need their own insurance, and they buy it from reinsurance companies. There are only a handful of major reinsurance companies in the world–about three or four, to be precise.
When reinsurance companies state: “This year, costs are going up by 60%,” the ripple effect is enormous. Insurers are left with no choice but to pass on those increased costs to policyholders. It’s like a chain reaction.
And it’s not just the folks in high-risk areas like Northern California who are footing the bill. Reinsurers don’t just charge the areas with higher risks. Instead, they spread the risk, which means eventually, everyone pays for it. So, the increases we’re seeing today are just the beginning, slowly inching up to affect even homeowners with the highest limits of tolerance.
So, there you have it–an unusual twist in the world of home prices in Colorado. It’s not just about location or demand; climate change is turning the housing market into an unpredictable rollercoaster ride, and everyone is in for a wild journey.