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Interesting home insurance info, tips and advice brought to you from Colorado.

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With the nasty string of wildfires Colorado has had, we all feel the devastating loss for those who have to rebuild their burned down homes. While this is a scary realization for those homeowners of log homes in the Colorado Mountains, fear not, as there are many solutions and home insurance policies that will help ensure that homes stay safe in the event of a wildfire.

When building a mountain home in Colorado, it is important to realize that it could be in the path of a wildfire. Courtesy of the NFPA Firewise Communities Program, there are different zones and preventive measures to take.

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Zone 1

Within the first five feet of log homes, it is recommended to use any material that is fire-resistant, including rock mulch, stone walkways, and/or plants with high moisture. From 5 to 30 feet, choose plants that are low-growing and wax, resin, and oil free, as those tend to burn very easily.

Zone 2

From 30 to 100 feet away, a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees should be planted in clusters of two to three with 30 feet between each cluster. These trees should be pruned six to 10 feet off the ground. In this zone, walkways, rock gardens, and gravel are encouraged as a fire break.

Zone 3

From 100 to 200 feet away, it is important to reduce the density of trees and prune the crowns, so they do not touch. Also, removing smaller plants in between these tall trees is encouraged.

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Wood Treatment 

Mountain homes are often times made of wood. While wood fuels fire, there are different treatments and wood types to use so that it can still be used to create beautiful log homes. One of the few important factors is keeping wood dry, along with applying stains, finishes, and preservatives to prolong the lifetime of the wood.

Fire-Rated Materials

For roofing, metal, slate, and tile are recommended. For skylights, tempered glass lights should be used instead of plastic. For windows, double paned or tempered glass will help to offer extra protection. For eaves, use finer 1/8-inch opening steel screen as this will prevent debris from being pulled into the attic in the event of a wildfire.

Landscaping

It is possible to create a gorgeous, fire-resistant landscape. Choosing the right plants, shrubs, and materials in addition to keeping up the maintenance of the landscape by routinely mowing, weeding, and removing dead debris are all very important. Outdoors, decorate with stones instead of mulch, store gas grills away from the house, and create a fence barrier of non-flammable material six to 10 feet away will all help prevent wildfires from coming too close and destroying precious property.

Proper Insurance

The most important way to protect a home is with home insurance. While mountain homes and log homes tend to be expensive to cover, find a competitive rate while providing the best insurance policy to cover your home in case of a wildfire or other danger. Though no amount of preparation can completely keep your home safe from fires, following these tips can help protect your home from devastating damage.

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Modular Homes: Weighing the Pros and Cons

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Modular homes, or homes built off site in a climate controlled environment and then transported to the destination, are the fastest growing segment of residential construction in the country. However, is a modular home better than a traditionally built house? Depending on your needs, it's possible. Here are a few pros and cons to weigh before deciding one way or the other.

Pro: Affordability

Because they are built in a factory, modular homes benefit from an assembly line process. You don't have to deal with several subcontractors doing sub par work with a high price tag, and you don't have to take bids as you would with a traditional home. Modular homes also have cutting edge engineering in their construction, which allows the home to be more energy-conscious, thus lowering energy bills. All of this translates into a home that passes the savings on to you, typically 10 to 20 percent cheaper than traditional construction.

Pro: Reduced Building Time 

Image via Flickr by Tiffa Day

Because you select all your home amenities before building a modular home, there's no guesswork or changes of heart involved. Also, due to a majority of the work being done indoors, weather is not a factor in completion time. Thus, the modular home is completed in a third of the time. Often, once you decide on your home, you move in approximately three to six weeks later. This allows for a limited transition time between your previous home and your new one. If time is of the essence, then a modular home is for you.

Con: Disaster Susceptibility

Unlike traditional homes, the materials used in modular homes are more susceptible to damage in the event of a disaster. Brick is almost never used in construction, which makes the home less durable to storms. They receive more damage in the event of a fire, and water damage from frozen pipes is more prevalent. This translates to a higher cost for insurance policies for modular homes, so shop around before making a purchase.

Con: Land Ownership

Because the home is built off-site, you need to have a piece of land to begin the final installation process. However, this is a pricey venture depending on location. Some lots in nice neighborhoods or large parcels of land in rural areas cost upwards of $100,000. If you include the price of the modular home construction and insurance premiums once the house is delivered, buying the land completely wipes out your effective cost savings. Therefore, it's important to find a cheap piece of land or already own the land before buying a modular home.

Buying a modular home is a great idea if you want a fully customizable home in a relatively short period of time. In addition, modular homes hold their value as much as home constructed on-site. Beware of the pitfalls of these homes however, especially if you are in an area that suffers from frequent natural disasters, such as wildfires or severe storms. Once you've weighed the risks, you'll be able to decide whether or not a modular home is for you.

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Top 5 Common Mistakes When Buying Home InsuranceFamily homes are the largest asset of most American households, typically accounting for nearly one-third of all wealth. We all know we need to protect this asset with home insurance, but many Americans don't understand how insurance policies work. Unfortunately, that lack of knowledge can lead to mistakes like these.

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Pride of Home Ownership

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Well Painted House with Excellent Curb AppealPride of home ownership is the primary factor that drives people to own their home. It is your home which means you can paint the walls any color you want. You can install speakers into the walls and hang chandeliers from wherever.

You own the home and can do whatever you want. Home ownership gives you and your kin a feeling of permanence. It can be a way to stabilize the family's location and center of focus. 

Some great investments you can make into your home start with it's curb appeal. When the time comes, paint your house. Professional house painters will be able to assess your home's exterior and determine the cost of painting your house.

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new homeowners, perhaps a colorado couple?It takes time to move into a new home, and it also takes time to get the house to the point where it feels warm, homelike and comfortable. Getting the house to a habitable state should start in the weeks or days before actually moving into the building. Homeowners should take five steps to make a house more habitable before moving in.

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Residents of Colorado and the western United States are far too familiar with the threat of wildfires. Every year, families and communities are evacuated, homes and buildings are destroyed, and the landscape is decimated. Even for those not directly affected, a wildfire can have deep, lasting effects on a community.

Recently we discussed the importance of defensible space: steps that can be taken beforehand to minimize the risk of damage to your home from a wildfire. Unfortunately, even if a structure survives a wildfire, there are still serious risks to its safety and the safety of those who inhabit it; flooding is just one of those.

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Every year, with the onset of summer, wildfires become a major issue here in Colorado and this year has seen the most destructive wildfire in Colorado's history in the Black Forest fire. Many Coloradans live in what is called wildland-urban interface (or WUI) which is an area where structures and other developments meet and mix with wildland areas and vegetative fuels. In areas like these, fire mitigation becomes extremely important, and is required by many counties and cities. The best defense against wildfires for all Colorado homeowners is a well-planned and well-maintained defensible space around the home.

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Shopping for a new home should be a fun and exciting experience. When you know what to look for, it takes a lot of the guesswork and stress of trying to find a home that you would enjoy living in. What determines whether a property is right for you? 

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Renting Out Your 2nd Home?

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Check out these helpful tips for rental property owners. Property that generates income can be a good deal but it requires cunning and tact to be successful. A Rental home can be a great investment but it makes you a landlord. Learn some helpful tips to be a successful rental homeowner

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Do your eyes glaze over just hearing the word 'insurance'? Well, truly speaking, this might not be the most interesting subject, but it is certainly essential for the new homebuyers to know the nuts and bolts of the home owners insurance policy. Nowadays all mortgage lenders offer such policies along with the mortgage loan in order to protect their investment and be sure about getting back the money.

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The bulk of the energy used in a typical single family residence will be for heating and cooling purposes. Most often approximately 55% of the total energy consumption of a residence will be used for these purposes.

Regardless of the kind of HVAC systems that are in your home, you can reduce expense and increase your comfort level by regularly maintaining and upgrading your system. 

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Chances are if you have a mortgage, you’re holding a home insurance policy. While this type of policy is great to have in case of a disaster, did you know that there are some laws you didn’t know about in the great state of Colorado?

To help inform you more on the laws of home insurance, here are five things every resident should know…

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One problem that faces homeowners during the summer is a shortage of water. Water shortages occur because of the fast evaporation of supplies, lack of rain and overuse. Homeowners can take six steps to help conserve water during the hottest months of the year.

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Gun violence is a daily occurrence in the United States, but it's tragedies such as Aurora and Newtown last year that bring our deep rifts in beliefs to the surface. Politicians in many states have proposed new measures to curb gun violence and increase gun control, much to the displeasure of others. One such proposal that has been made in at least a handful of states is the idea of requiring mandatory liability insurance for all gun owners. Arguments can be made both for and against such a requirement, and it's a perplexing debate full of hypotheticals.

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This is a guest post by 8z blogger, Staci Striegnitz.

Buying a home for the first time is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration. What area do you want to live in?  How much space do you want? Do you want a yard? Are you looking for a house that’s move-in ready or do you want a fixer upper? Most importantly, what will your budget allow? These are all questions that require some serious thought. 

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As a homeowner, you are responsible for what happens on your property. If someone slips and falls on your property, you could face the ensuing medical bills, as well as court costs and legal fees from a lawsuit. 

Most homeowners have about $100,000 in personal liability coverage per claim as part of their home insurance policies. For many, that can be enough as the risks for personal injury on their property are relatively low and from somewhat standard claims such as slip and fall accidents. While this $100,000 limit can be enough for many people, there are circumstances where a higher limit may be a smart decision.

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