U.S. Fire Dangers

U.S Fire Dangers

On Dec. 30, 2021, a wildfire swept through suburban neighborhoods in Boulder County destroying nearly 1,000 homes and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. The fire spread with astonishing speed prompting the evacuation of 35,000 people and burning about 6,200 acres

The wildfire, which Gov. Jared Polis called a “force of nature,” came unusually late in the year for Colorado, where a severe, multiyear drought set the stage for the fire to spread with ease. The Boulder area was hit with high winds, including gusts of nearly 110 miles per hour, fanning the flames coming two weeks after a powerful storm system generated dust clouds in Colorado and other extreme weather across the Midwest.

The fire was compared to the 2013 Black Forest fire, at the time the most destructive in Colorado’s history, destroying about half as many homes.

In California, the wildfire season experienced an unusually early start amid an ongoing drought and historically low rainfall and reservoir levels. In January 2021 alone, 297 fires burned 1,171 acres (4.74 km2) on nonfederal land according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, almost triple the number of fires and more than 20 times the acreage of the five-year average for January.

Unfortunately, these were not one-time freaks of nature.

Analyzing Wildfires

A new University of Colorado Boulder-led paper shows that large fires have not only become more common, but they are also spreading into new areas, affecting land which previously had not been in danger.

The paper’s writers analyzed data from over 28,000 fires occurring between 1984 and 2018 using the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) dataset. Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is an interagency program whose goal is to consistently map the burn severity and extent of large fires across all lands of the United States from 1984 to present.

MTBS examines all fires 1,000 acres or greater in the western United States and 500 acres or greater in the eastern Unites States.

Data analysis confirms fires have gotten larger, more frequent, and more widespread across the United States since 2000.

“Projected changes in climate, fuel and ignitions suggest that we’ll see more and larger fires in the future. Our analyses show that those changes are already happening,” said Virginia Iglesias, a research scientist with CU Boulder’s Earth Lab and lead author of the paper.

Analyzing the data, the report compared the 2005 – 2018 fire seasons to the preceding two decades. In both the West and the East, fire frequency doubled. In the Great Plains, fire frequency quadrupled. The amount of land burned each year increased from a median of 1,552 to 5,502 square miles in the West and from 465 to 1,295 square miles in the Great Plains.

Over the course of 20 years, the amount of land burned each year more than tripled.

Additionally, the analysis concluded that the size of fire-prone areas increased in all regions of the contiguous United States in the 2000s meaning the distance is smaller between individual fires and that fires are spreading into areas which had not burned in the preceding time periods.

These results confirm what had been suspected by the media, public and fire-fighting officials: fires are getting bigger, affecting more populated areas and are harder to fight. These results align with other troubling risk trends: “These convergent trends, more large fires plus intensifying development, mean that the worst fire disasters are still to come,” said William Travis, co-author, and Earth Lab deputy director.

In other words, with more development, and spreading populations, more homes, people, and towns are at risk of fire.

The Camp Fire of 2018 in Northern California is one of many examples. The fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history and the most expensive natural disaster in the world in 2018 in terms of insured losses.

Drought was a factor: Paradise, in the Sierra foothills, which typically sees five inches of autumn rain by November 12, had only received one-seventh of an inch by that date in 2018.

The fire, ignited by a faulty electric transmission line, caused 85 civilian fatalities, injuring 12 civilians and five firefighters. It covered an area of 153,336 acres (239.6 sq mi), and destroyed more than 18,000 structures, with most of the destruction occurring within the first four hours. The towns of Paradise and Concow were almost completely destroyed, each losing about 95% of their structures.

Aspen Insurance Agency is a family-run business in Denver, Colorado servicing clients nationwide. We work with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers a wide variety of risk reduction coverage at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, auto insurance, commercial and professional insurance to residential and commercial insurance customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our professionals for home or business insurance and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Wedding Insurance

Wedding Insurance


Of life’s major milestones, the happiest must be the wedding. Months before, the blushing bride and her entourage (Mom, Aunts, besties, cousins, sisters, etc) decide what dress should she wear? What venue? What band or entertainment? Which caterer and what menus?  Dad meanwhile is off in the corner calculating the cost of each decision.

Yes, a wedding is a happy occasion, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential problems. After all, weddings represent a considerable investment and have become big business. The Wedding Report states there are 2.1 million weddings in the U.S. each year, with a total value of more than $54 billion.

According to the 2020 American Wedding Survey from Brides.com, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $28,964 with the actual amount varying by geography, preferences, and available budget. However, as the saying says: “the best laid plans of mice and men….”.

The Covid pandemic is an excellent example. The pandemic caused many planned (and paid for) weddings to be cancelled with many couples losing deposits placed on venues, caterers, and bands.

Though Covid may have been a once-in-a-lifetime situation, there are other kinds of event mishaps during event planning and execution creating financial loss for the bride and groom, or the family, when covering their own expenses.

Wedding Insurance

Wedding insurance is available to help reduce the risk of unplanned whoopsies. For instance, covering presents damaged when over-exuberant dancers knocked the gift table into the wedding cake.

Depending on coverage required, wedding insurance could cost anywhere from $95 to more than $500. Travelers Insurance recommends purchasing coverage sufficient to cover the loss from a worst-case scenario if the wedding needs to be cancelled or rescheduled for some reason.

Wedding insurance usually covers non-refundable deposits and some purchases if circumstances require you to cancel or reschedule the wedding, assuming the circumstances are beyond your control. Getting cold feet and backing out of the wedding is typically not covered.

Wedding Day Problems

Wedding venue

The bride found the perfect setting for her dream wedding. An antique restored farmhouse on a manor farm, which caught fire and burned to the ground days before the wedding. Wedding insurance would have covered the cost of cancelling the wedding, as the fire was outside of the insured control. Insurance will also cover venues that may be inaccessible due to weather, such as flooding after a hurricane. Other situations covered by insurance include banquet halls losing their license or going out of business.

Insurance covers rescheduling the wedding and the cost of items such as flowers, tent rentals and the reception. Some venues require proof of liability insurance. Some special event policies have endorsements which allow the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception to also be included within the coverage.


Planning a wedding six months in advance is far enough out to only have a general idea of the weather.

In some parts of the mid-west, a late spring wedding could be in a sunny, 80-degree day, or be held in the middle of a snow or ice storm.

Wedding insurance will cover the cost of cancelling a wedding if conditions prevent the bride or groom, key family members or the majority of guests from getting to the wedding site.

This can be important if the wedding is planned to be a destination wedding to a remote island, or even if the plan is to have it in hurricane season or the middle of winter.

Vendor issues

According to Travelers Insurance, 44% of wedding insurance claims are for vendors hired for the event but failed to perform as promised. Vendors may be caterers, officiant or limousine driver who fails to show up as promised. It may also cover a photographer’s camera bag stolen during the wedding or a dress shop or a florist who files for bankruptcy just before the wedding.

Insurance might cover a range of risk reduction including covering lost deposits or the cost of photo reshoot.

Property Damage

My mother always said, “to have a successful party, get very tipsy first thing”. That’s great but being a bit too tipsy could be the reason for inadvertent property damage. Say a reception at a historic venue has artwork or furnishings damaged, or an inebriated guest falls into the champagne table, damaging both the table and the Oriental rug underneath.

Travelers Insurance says 28% of its claims involve wedding-related property damage to a location.

Other coverages include:

Cancellation Coverage: Travelers Insurance states 8% of wedding claims involve illness or injury to the bride, groom, or a key member of the bridal party, requiring the wedding to be cancelled or rescheduled.

Bridal Attire: Travelers Insurance says 6% of its claims involve problems with bridal attire, with insurance covering a wedding gown that is lost, damaged or stolen.

Wedding insurance will also cover a bride or groom in the service who is unable to attend due to deployment, or having their leave revoked. Other coverage includes special wedding jewelry, liquor liability, wedding gifts that are stolen or damaged at the wedding, and personal liability covering accidents which occur during the event.

You should decide if you need wedding insurance based on numerous factors. The higher the overall event cost the higher the potential loss. Other situations such as a wedding participant in the service, or the event scheduling may cause more risk than others.

But, it’s nice to know you have options.

Aspen Insurance Agency is a family-run business in Denver, Colorado servicing clients nationwide. We work with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers a wide variety of risk reduction coverage at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, auto insurance, commercial and professional insurance to residential and commercial insurance customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance advisors for home or business insurance and see how painless insurance shopping can be.