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If disaster strikes, do you have enough home insurance?

After the wake of the Marshall Fire in Boulder in 2021, many homeowners were shocked to learn that their policies were not adequate or up to date for compensation. According to the Colorado Division of Insurance, roughly four out of five policy holders reported total property loss and couldn’t rebuild their houses as originally constructed.

On March 29, the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce hosted a community happy hour with insurance agents as guest panelists. Agents Tammy Lopez, Allstate, and Nick Ainsworth, State Farm, fielded questions from homeowners addressing the most common claims: losses due to fire, water and liability issues, theft, hail and wind, sewer and drain problems. They also made recommendations on how to make the policies work for you and what steps to take to make sure you and your assets are covered (see insert left).

“The big issue is that people say, ‘I just want insurance,’ and think that insurance policies are apples to apples; there’s no such thing,” said Lopez. “Our job as agents is to protect all homeowners’ assets.”

Lopez continued to say that when her clients buy a home, they purchase insurance and then they go dark. She and Ainsworth emphasized the importance of staying in communication with your agent, especially when making home improvements. For example, if your policy lists builder grade construction and you have a semi-custom home, you may not get the full coverage if disaster should strike.

“We aren’t trying to upsell you,” added Ainsworth. “We just want it right.” He said that a homeowner’s policy for rebuild costs doesn’t have to be market value, but it should reflect a rebuild cost.

Because of the Marshall Fire, many insurance agents are visiting homes to ensure that trees are not overgrown or resting against the structure. Councilmember Kevin Rants added that HOAs and residents can apply for grants to help with fire mitigation by visiting He further noted that the City is working on an evacuation plan to supplement Douglas County’s plan and should be made available to the public this fall.

Tips for getting the right homeowner’s insurance policy:

  • Review your policy and make sure it reflects accurately what your house is worth to date and what the total cost would be to rebuild.
  • It is recommended to have a 100% rebuild cost and 100% replacement minimum in the policy.
  • When you update your home, let your insurance agent know. Keep invoices in a fireproof safe.
  • Make sure you know what your deductible is, especially for wind and hail: know what will come out of pocket and total volume of coverage.
  • Take a video of each floor of your home to include opening closets, garage, and basement. Put videos in a digital locker with your insurance company or on a thumb drive in a fire safe.
  • High value items, like jewelry and art, need to be appraised and listed as line items in your policy — usually anything more than $5,000. Jewelry should be appraised every three years.
  • Mitigate your property: make sure no trees are leaning on your home or roof. Trim overgrown trees and bushes near your house.
  • Always have an umbrella policy; it’s a minimum cost for maximum protection against lawsuits.
  • For firearms, make a list of each weapon; add serial number, when purchased, price paid and add list to a thumb drive and put in fire safe.

For more information on how to protect your home against disaster, visit

By Hollen Wheeler




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