Hundreds of households in the Boulder County community have been impacted by the Marshall Fire. With home prices surging in every area of our state (the average rate of appreciation was 20% in 2021), the unfortunate truth is that many Coloradans lost their most valuable asset in the blaze. The widespread effects of the Marshall Fire serve as a somber reminder to ensure your insurance policy offers adequate coverage in the event of a natural disaster. Not sure what steps to take to update your coverage? Take a look at the guidelines covered here. Even if you didn’t experience loss due to fire, please make sure your insurance is up to date. You may use these same practices to avoid future loss of property.
Conduct an Annual Review With Your Insurance Agent and Realtor
Home prices across the country are steadily increasing, so it’s crucial to meet with your insurance agent and realtor each year to ensure that you’re sufficiently covered. Along with the price of homes, the cost of repair and replacement are up, too. Your insurance agent will help you make adjustments to home repair and replacement costs, as well as personal property coverage. Many homeowners are often unaware that their insurance can be based on either RCV or ACV. Replacement cost value is a product at 100 percent, with no use or diminished lifespan. Actual cash value is the use (or life left) of a product after a reduction for depreciation. When the repairs are affected, typically the withheld depreciation is payable and due. On a similar note, your realtor can provide an annual property assessment so you have your home’s estimated property value up-to-date and ready to discuss with your insurance professional. By meeting with your realtor and insurance agent once a year, you’ll avoid being underinsured. This is especially important if you no longer have a lien or mortgage, since it’s so easy to let your insurance policy lapse without a mandated insurance escrow.
Make a Walkthrough Video of Personal Property
Your home may be protected from the unexpected, but the loss of personal property can be devastating. One of the best things you can do to protect the value of your belongings is to create a detailed video of the possessions in your home. You’ll want to be as thorough as possible and do a meticulous walkthrough on an annual basis. Be sure to name the brands and models, and even take footage of the barcodes on items such as TVs and computers. Work your way through each room of the house to ensure that you don’t miss anything, and don’t forget to back the video up to the cloud so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. Finally, create an itemized digital spreadsheet of the contents in each room of your home. You can (and should) include all items in the home–not just valuables such as art and electronics. In your spreadsheet, note the cost of the items and their origin.
The Marshall Fire caused widespread devastation and has many of us thinking about how to prepare for an emergency. Your home and belongings are too important to lose, so making sure that your insurance policy is up to date and appropriate is a must. We hope this guide helps alleviate some of the stress and confusion associated with insurance matters. As we continue to think of those in our community who have lost everything, please consider donating to those in need.
Meta: The Marshall Fire destroyed hundreds of homes in our community. Read on for guidelines on how to ensure your home is adequately covered in the event of a disaster.