Rebuilding Efforts in Superior, one year after the Marshall Fire

On December 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire devastatingly swept through residential parts of Boulder County. The incident was a grave reminder of what homeowner’s insurance policies covered and what steps homeowners can take to better protect themselves. Selecting homeowner’s insurance has seemed like one of the quicker, easier steps when purchasing a home and getting a mortgage. The Marshall Fire has taught us that this step is critical and requires in-depth research. Many homeowners found themselves under-insured after the Marshall fire, and they are struggling to pay for a rebuild.

Speaking with clients who lost their homes in the fire, and their home insurance agents, here are three major take-aways:

  1. Homeowners should be re-evaluating insurance coverage on an annual basis to ensure the current coverage is sufficient to cover constantly changing rebuild costs. Homeowners in the Marshall Fire zone were quoted up to $350 per square foot to rebuild, and most did not have adequate coverage.
  2. Videotape belongings – Insurance companies will require a detailed inventory of everything in the home, to determine a value and replacement costs. Taking photos and/or videos of each room, and listing each room’s items in a spreadsheet, will expedite insurance payouts. Required details can be down to the number of shirts or pairs of shoes and their brands. By recording everything, with an estimated price, and saving that information in the cloud, homeowners will alleviate an enormous amount of stress when filing claims.
  3. The path to a rebuild is not well defined, so expect a long and frustrating path. Sometimes, insurance coverage must be supplemented by borrowing money from different sources, i.e., SBA loan, construction loan, or leveraging other assets. Along with securing the necessary funds, the homeowner must also find a builder and then work on design/construction plans. Although a daunting number of tasks come with a rebuild, a new home on the same lot could be worth the effort.

Most Planet Boulder clients affected by the Marshall Fire are choosing to rebuild, but some have decided to sell their lots. All of them wished they had higher coverage amounts and more thorough documentation of what they owned. Our team worked with each of these clients to explain all possible scenarios related to their home loans.

These cautionary steps should be taken to heart, as our collective hearts go out to the victims of this and all destructive fires.

Planet Boulder Loan Officers are available for a mortgage review or an introductory call on customized home loans.