Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your Home's 3 Values

Are you selling it, paying taxes on it or insuring it? The answer will determine which one of your home's 3 values you should be using. You want one to be high, one to be low and one to be very, very accurate in case you ever need to use it. Let's look at the different values and what they mean for your home.
  1. Real Estate Value: This is the value that your home would sell for. Unless you're planning on selling your home (or trying to refinance), this value is irrelevant. You obviously want this value to be as high as possible but you really only need to know this value a few times during your home ownership.
  2. Assessor Value: This is the value your taxing entity places on your home and determines how much property tax you will pay each year. Most counties use their own formulas for determining the value of your home (plus any attached/detached structures) and then send you an annual tax bill according to the appreciation or depreciation of the value compared to the previous year.
  3. Insurance Value: The insurance value determines how much it would cost to rebuild if your home was totally destroyed. It is very important to make sure you review the value that your insurance company has placed on your home. You don't want it to be higher than necessary, which will cost you more in your annual premiums. However you don't want it to be lower than needed to completely replace your home. Statistics show that 60% of homes are underinsured, meaning they would not have enough insurance to completely rebuild if they were destroyed. Although the insurance value does not include the land, it is often higher than the real estate value (especially in the current environment) for a number of reasons:
    1. There is more involved with RE-building than with building from scratch. In most cases it actually costs more to rebuild than to build.
    2. You have to tear it down first! In order to start re-building you must first remove the remaining debris from the home. This is a very expensive task and can cost upwards of $25,000 or more.
    3. Building codes with the city, state and county can - and do - change, adding extra costs to the rebuild.
    4. Material and labor are constantly changing, and usually not in the same direction as the real estate market. For example, last year the price of concrete went up 5 times due to a shortage caused by the chineese buying all of the US concrete for building projects in China.
While all 3 home values are important, only one will make sure your home is completely rebuilt if it were destroyed. Knowing each and making sure the insurance value is accurate is something that should be reviewed and kept up to date every 12-24 months. If you make any changes to your home, such as remodelling or adding rooms, make sure you meet with your agent to update the information about your home. It could mean the difference between rebuilding the home of your dreams or getting stuck with an incomplete home because you run out of insurance money!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Get Your Tree Off Of My Roof!

The recent windstorms ravaging the front range of Colorado have been getting a lot of attention in the news lately, and with good reason. The pictures of downed light poles and trees on the tops of roofs makes for some pretty good visuals, like this one:

But what should you do if you come home to find your neighbor's tree on the top of your house? Who's responsible for the clean up? Who takes care of the damages? Who needs to call the insurance company? Unfortunately, the answers to all three questions is YOU about 99% of the time.

Unless your neighbor has neglected the tree (it was rotten and ready to fall down and they left it there anyway), it's not their fault that a giant windstorm came through town and knocked their tree over. It's not their fault that their perfectly healthy tree could not handle the hurricane force winds and ended up on your house. And since it's not their fault, they are not liable and since they are not liable they are not responsible to pay for the damages.

Think about it this way, a tornado comes through a town and picks up a large tree out of your yard. It carries the tree 10 miles down the road and drops it off in the next town - on someone's house. They would have no idea who the tree belonged to, but even if they did it's not your fault that the tornado passed through and took your tree with it. The same is true if it lands on your neighbors house. Just because you know the tree belonged to them, it doesn't mean they are responsible for the damage.

Luckily you have home insurance. Your home insurance will help you with the damages (minus your deductible). It will count as a claim against your home insurance even though it was not your fault and it may have an impact on your rates, so make sure you discuss it with your local, professional agent if you find yourself (and your house) sitting under a tree.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meet the Allen family, our clients of the month!

Custom Homes, Kettle Corn and Triathlons - Meet Doug and Janelle Allen - Our Triple Threat Clients Of The Month!

At first glance, the Allen family looks like every other typical family in Colorado Springs. But get to know a little bit about Doug, Janelle and their 3 girls - Ruby, Jaden and Dalia - and you’ll find out pretty quick that this family is anything but typical. In fact, they're pretty amazing!
Doug is an award-winning custom home builder, Janelle owns a kettle corn business selling unbelievably delicious kettle corn for the Broncos games, the Falcons games, and the CU Buffaloes (among other events) and BOTH Doug and Janelle run triathlons in their spare time!

I asked Doug how they manage it all and his response was great: “If you want to make sure something gets done, give it to a busy person.”

Busy indeed! Janelle’s kettle corn business operates at about 200 games and events per year. Chances are if you’ve ever eaten the kettle corn at the Broncos or Falcons football games you’ve seen them in action and tasted some of the best kettle corn west of the Mississippi!

Janelle purchased the kettle corn business about 12 years ago and quickly turned a small operation into a very successful family business. Make sure you grab a bag the next time you’re at one of the football games (or the World Arena where they also operate) and make sure you say a quick hello!

Exterior Photo Of One Of Doug's Award Winning Homes
On top of helping Janelle with her business, Doug has an amazing, award-winning, custom home building company called AllenTown Homes. His homes have been featured in numerous Parade of Homes and are truly a sight to behold. He also does custom remodeling work for clients who really want to set their home apart. Check out some of his work at and be prepared to be blown away.

And if two successful businesses weren't enough, both Doug and Janelle compete in triathlons. “Preparing for and competing in triathlons is our chance to escape” says Doug. “We have the kids help us with some of our training and we use the events as little family vacations.”

Doug and Janelle train 15-20 hours per week during their busy season and have some pretty awesome goals, including making it into the Iron Man competition in Hawaii! “Competing gives us a goal and something to be proud of.” It also keeps their family in fantastic shape. Swimming 2.5 miles, biking 112 miles and then running 26 miles is a pretty good workout! Doug admits that Janelle is more likely to make the cut for the Iron Man. “She’s very fast and very disciplined” adds Doug but if you ask me, I’d say they’re both pretty disciplined.

Even with all they’ve got going on, Doug and Janelle still find time to keep the girls busy with their own activities, lots of family time AND the girls have even competed in junior triathlons of their own. Doug and Janelle are a real inspiration and proof that you really do have time to accomplish all of the goals you set for yourself. I’m proud to be working with them and taking care of their family’s insurance and financial needs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Least Expensive and Most Expensive Cars To Insure

In case you're getting into the mood to do some car shopping for 2012, I thought I'd share the results of an annual study that lists the most and least expensive cars to insure. Most of the list probably won't surprise you much, it's just common sense that a V10, 2 seater, $160,000 sports car should cost quite a bit to insure. But the list of least expensive may come in handy when you're out there deciding between a few different models.

Least expensive vehicles to insure (2012)

RankVehicleCyl.Nat'l annual avg. rate
1Toyota Sienna LE4$1,111
2Toyota Sienna4$1,114
3Jeep Patriot Sport4$1,116
4Jeep Compass Sport4$1,118
5GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab6$1,121
6Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab6$1,125
7Dodge Grand Caravan SXT6$1,129
8Ford Escape XLS4$1,137
9Toyota Sienna6$1,139
10Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab6$1,143
11Dodge Journey SXT6$1,143
12Honda Odyssey LX6$1,146
13Kia Sportage4$1,151
14Hyundai Santa Fe GLS4$1,152
15Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport6$1,154
16Nissan Frontier S King Cab4$1,162
17Nissan Frontier SV King Cab4$1,163
18Hyundai Tucson GL4$1,166
19Ford Escape XLT4$1,167
20GMC Canyon4$1,167

Most expensive vehicles to insure (2012)

RankVehicleCyl.Nat'l annual avg. rate
1Audi R8 Spyder Quattro Convertible10$3,384
2Mercedes CL600 Coupe12$3,307
3Mercedes S60012$2,948
4Audi R8 4.2 Quattro Coupe8$2,903
5Porsche Panamera Turbo8$2,738
6BMW 750i Hybrid8$2,701
7Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible6$2,674
8Porsche 911 Turbo S Convertible6$2,674
9Mercedes CL65 AMG Coupe12$2,669
10BMW 750Li Hybrid8$2,641
11Mercedes SL63 AMG Convertible8$2,615
12Mercedes CL63 AMG Coupe8$2,613
13Jaguar XKR Supercharged Convertible8$2,585
14Mercedes S63 AMG8$2,542
15Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe8$2,532
16Audi A8 L Quattro12$2,513
17Mercedes SL550 Convertible8$2,458
18Nissan GT-R Coupe Turbo6$2,457
19BMW 750XI8$2,446
20BMW 750i8$2,430

If you've got the money for one of these top 20 most expensive cars to insure, you've probably got the money for the insurance as well. However, if you're on a budget (like most of us) and trying to keep insurance costs a little bit lower, give your local, professional agent a call when you're deciding between cars and find out which one will be the easiest on your pocket. There can be a big range in costs to insure those new vehicles you're thinking about. Make sure you factor the insurance cost into your decision!

Robert Edgin