Business offers alternative to underinsured homeowners

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Many residents who lost their homes in Boulder County were underinsured and are still struggling to get back on their feet because of those rebuilding costs.

One company is on a mission to help those homeowners.

For Dave Maggio and his family, rebuilding their dream home involves recalling a scorching nightmare. He, like so many of his neighbors, was underinsured and say this fire should be a wake-up call to all homeowners as we head into another day of extreme fire risk.

“The house was great. You know, we had recently moved in,” Maggio said. He added that he thought he was fully insured when in reality, he wasn’t.

Three-and-a-half months after settling in, the fury of the state’s most destructive fire moved in, demolishing parts of the Spanish Hills neighborhood in Boulder County, including his home.

This set the exhaustive stage of heavy lifting for so many looking to rebuild who may be underinsured.

“I think everybody’s underinsured with the cost of, you know, the market these days and building in this market,” Maggio said.

Most uninsured for Marshall Fire devastation

Stephanie Miller is the Chamber of Commerce president for Superior, one of the cities impacted by the inferno.

“Because our community has seen such strong property appreciations, coupled with the fact that there’s building material and labor shortages, which are only going to get worse now because of the fire. We’re seeing a lot of residents with those insurance shortfalls,” she said. “I’ve got several friends who lost their homes … easily 80-90% of the ones I’ve talked to are underinsured by at least some amount, if not a very substantial amount.”

But not all hope is lost. Bob Hinz is the owner of HomeWrights, a company offering homeowners the chance to build their own homes through an owner-builder approach. In essence, you are your own project manager, which can save you big bucks.

“You can have input. You can control the darn process. I mean, that’s what we’re all about,” Hinz said.

Let’s say you want to build a 2,500-square-foot home with a two-car garage. The company says this owner-building model can save you — potentially — up to $100,000. The company helps you through this process and says it requires hard work, but once the dust settles, it’s both rewarding and affordable.

The company is working with Maggio on rebuilding his dream, holding his hand as he and his family attempt to get back on their feet.

What to know about underinsurance

The Problem Solvers have reported on this issue of underinsurance before. So here are some reminders on what you should know.

  • If you think you’re underinsured or you’re just not sure, call your insurance agent and set up a meeting with them.
  • Talk to some builders and ask them what would they charge per square foot and then make sure you’re covered for at least that much.
  • Don’t go for the minimum. If you’re getting a mortgage loan, ask to see your appraisal. That’s usually page three or four. It’s going to show you a breakdown of what your site value is, and also what the rebuild cost will be.
  • More info here and here for homeowners who may be underinsured.

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