Mark Kedik and his wife were ready for a new experience as they moved into their new Pioneertown home in early 2006.
But just three months into living at their new home, the devastation of the Sawtooth Fire came roaring in. When all the flames were extinguished, the Kediks found their home burned to the ground.
All there was left, Mark says, was the brick foundation of the home.
Now a year later, Kedik says the wildfire has brought an unbearable amount of stress to his life and his 11-year marriage.
“We’re still kinda jumpy from this fire,” says Kedik. “And we argue a bit. It’s real stressful.”
The Kediks had tried but ultimately didn’t buy insurance for their home.
Mark says insurance companies refused to cover their home because it was old and located next to the high desert mountains.
And the Kediks were not alone.
Experts say even many homeowners who had coverage were badly underinsured because they did not update their policies
And insurers haven’t increased coverage to keep pace with higher construction labor and materials costs.
A year later, utility lines are being laid and a new home built by the Kediks is just about done
The couple qualified for a low interest government loan. But the Kediks say the loan has now dug into their savings.
Still, they say, they wish they had insurance.
“We’re bleeding money…Both my wife and I have been unemployed the past year because we’ve been building this house.”
Currently, it will cost $100 to $300 per foot to rebuild a home. Local contractors can put an estimate on the damage.
If you have an actual cash value policy, it will not cover rebuilding. For that, you need a replacement-cost coverage.
And you need to make sure it covers building code upgrades. If your policy’s replacement cost seems low, ask your insurance agent about increasing its limit
Be careful before check on your new policy.
Examine what you have covered and your limits. Consumer activists say some insurance agents don’t want to push you into paying a higher premium for more coverage because they’re afraid you’ll move to another carrier
And always ask questions about your new policy.