But what will it cost to rebuild your home?

This might be the toughest question I have to answer when it comes to insuring a home.  Why?  Because the reality is that at the time you start a policy, unless you just built the home, you really have no definite way of knowing this number.  So here is my take; When in doubt always make sure you feel comfortable.  Here are some things to do;

1. As an agent I use any public data I can get my hands on.  This is combined with what you tell me then I input it into the company provided home replacement cost estimator.  Out comes your homes replacement cost and per company policy you have to have this as your minimum level of coverage.

2. Some people do a quick calculation, this guy included, so you take $150 and multiply it by the home’s square footage and you have a value.  Some people use $200, me as well, depending on the type of home and where it is.

3. Here is a resource I played around with while thinking about this topic; www.accucoverage.com .  Easy to use but like all estimators it is limited.

4. Here is a free one; www.building-cost.net

5. And another paid one; http://www.hmfacts.com/homeowners/

6. You could find a home builder and get them to give an estimate

7. You can research Modular Construction homes that look like yours

8. You can find a newly constructed home near yours and see what it is selling for.  Keep in mind that if it is brand new somebody is trying to profit on it so the sales price could be a solid number to compare with yours.

Now I have done options 1-5 as well as 7 and 8 and can say, at least for my home, all seven figures were different.  BUT they were all pretty close, so now what?  My home is covered to the standards of the company I insure it with.  It is also at a figure that I feel more than comfortable with.  Could I get less coverage?  Yes, but then you need to do the math.  I can probably lower my coverage from $300,000 to $250,000 and might technically still have plenty of money to build my home.  But I am not comfortable there and I think it is silly to save maybe $50 and lose $50,000 in coverage.

Should you do this every year?  Well yes, to some extent you need to check in on your coverage every year.  As bad as it would be to be under-insured it is still pretty bad to be paying for more insurance than you need.

Now what, well I could use some help.  See I did all of these steps but would love for you to do them and let me know what you find.  E-mail me here [email protected] so we can discuss.  Also, as long as you would share the final reports I would be happy to pay for the estimators in steps 3 and 5.

As always, just some suggestions you may want to try.

Getting things done and some phone etiquette

Is just  not that easy.  Maybe there is to much on my to do list, maybe I need to use my assistant better maybe I need to delegate more maybe I am too ambitious(no such thing) maybe I am to slow maybe I need better priorities maybe I am just complaining.


Unlike an automated message every call, e-mail, tweet Facebook message and beyond means something.  Every interaction feels good, even the annoying ones, even the ones that do not earn money because the interactions and relationships are the only currency whose value exceeds “money.”  Leading with the intention of doing good and talking to people and sharing people and getting beyond the transaction is what gets me up and keeps me up.  How about you?

I love the folks that “…promise to return every call”  yes, real big of you to promise something you should be doing anyhow.    I actually respect the big companies that set a low standard for themselves by promising to respond within 24-48 hours.  Yes it is frustrating but they set themselves up for over delivering with a massive underpromise.    Although I cannot help but wonder why you need a policy.  Just return the call or e-mail as soon as you can.  If you feel like it took to long genuinely apologize,  whether it is right or not I do it often.   I have found that most people just want to be acknowledged in a reasonable time.  No offense to perfection but I’m not interested in it.  Heck even in baseball where a perfect game is celebrated it is actually not a perfect game.  A perfect game should have 27 pitches, one per out.  Or a slightly less than perfect should have 81, 3 strikes per out, but instead there is no limit on pitches perfection is considered not letting anyone on base.  This is at least two steps removed from what could be considered perfection.


Like returning phone calls, I do it as quickly as I can.  Reality is I try and call you when I can give you my full undivided attention. What we have to talk about, on some level, is really important to at least one of us.  I will not interrupt you for anyone but my wife and even she may have to have a call go unanswered sometimes.  Just because you have call waiting doesn’t mean you have to use it.  

This week, like any other week, I just won’t get it all done.  There will likely be a call that does not get returned….but will.  Although this week is slightly different because there will be at least one call I really want to make but cannot.  See that is the call that really matters the one that is relationship based not transaction based.

The human interaction is the payoff.

Just some thoughts.

Oh how I dislike ice dams

This comes from personal experience of course.  Two years ago, during the midst of a winter way worse then this my home had an ice dam.  Here is a link to some great tips on helping prevent them, bye bye ice dam ?

Basically it is times like this, cold weather then warmer weather then more snow then some rain that are prime conditions for ice dams developing.  Now although my claims experience was very good having the wall and ceiling of your kitchen opened up is not fun.  Not being able to find the exact cause of where it comes in from is not fun.  Crawling on a roof in the winter is definitely not fun or safe.  So what can you do?

  1. Read the tips above
  2. Get a roof rake and use it, safely please
  3. Pay attention, not checking is when the problem gets bigger

Good luck and may there be no damn Ice dams in your life!

Just some thoughts and suggestions thanks for letting  me share.


Gotta love insurance advertising

I will admit two things;

1.I thoroughly enjoy advertising insurance companies do

2. I am generally disgusted by the advertising insurance companies do

So last week, like any other week, you and I get multiple pieces of insurance related advertising in our mail.  You were also subject to countless radio and t.v. ads.  Combine this with the multiple times you saw an ad while on the internet and it is practically inconceivable.  How much advertising do you really need to do?

So what set this off, two local State Farm agents mailed a letter to my house this past week.  One addressed to me, one to my wife. Both arrived on the same day and both had identical points to make.  So you have two agents from one company **State Farm agencies are essentially franchises and compete against but don’t cooperate with one another** advertising the same useless information to one household.  Not sure what is more annoying; that the content of the letter is purely driven on price and ads no value to whomever reads the letter or that State Farm is so big that they ignore their small agents and silly marketing mistakes.

Here is my take, most insurance companies treat the general public like a bunch of uneducated, dollar hungry, transactions versus human beings who need and want insurance.  Would it really hurt business to provide some education that they can use regardless of what company they are with?  Wouldn’t you still do ok if you stressed how good your policy is or how you are willing to keep your rate consistent or about how saving more than $500 just means you have been overpaying?  I would rather brag about saving $200-$300 than pointing out that someone is grossly overpaying.

Either way, like anything else is being advertised, be careful.  Just some thoughts, thanks for letting me share.