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Family closed on home the day before it was destroyed by the Marshall Fire

Now the homeowners say their insurance company isn't fully paying out their claims because they never spent a night in the home to prove occupancy.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Gabe and Tamara Bodner couldn't wait to pick up the keys and start moving into their new home in late December 2021. They wanted to be moved in by New Years Eve – and they closed the day before.

"We thought maybe we’d stay at the house that night. Maybe we would bring sleeping bags and camp for our first night," Tamara said. "Sadly we didn't get that opportunity to make it our home the day we bought it."

The Marshall Fire destroyed their home the day they closed on it.  

"It was so mind-boggling to come up here after the fire and there was just nothing there," Tamara said.

They had already moved in much of their stuff – but that wasn't the worst thing the fire took away.

"The loss of future dreams and future thoughts of what our life was going to be like as a family in this new home," Gabe said.

Their dreams disappeared, but then the Bodners said their nightmare began. "Because we hadn't officially slept in this home, the insurance company has then deemed it as not being our principal residence," he said. 

Since then, the couple said they have been fighting with the insurance company over every expense. They said they are getting only partially paid for their additional living expense and have had to itemize every item they lost and negotiate to get reimbursed for replacing them.

"Everything is just so cumbersome, and it’s a fight. It’s a fight with them over everything," Tamara said.

They've also had a tough time getting a building permit. Building costs have gone up so much, it'll be significantly more expensive to rebuild the home than they initially paid for it.

It's been so much of a struggle, Tamara wondered whether the house they'll eventually build will ever feel the same as the one they lost. 

"I hope it will feel like home," she said. "After all of this effort, I hope it will."

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