6 questions that can help you decide whether or not to rebuild
December 4, 2020
The decision to rebuild your home after a wildfire is an extremely personal one. There are myriad factors to consider, including finances, community recovery, and personal values. In this debate, there is no right answer, but there are a few questions that can help you decide what is right for you.
We’ve identified core questions to get you started in this decision-making process. We recommend considering these carefully, then deciding how much each factor means to you personally.
Questions to consider:
1. Can you rebuild to a higher construction and resiliency standard?
While many of the answers to these questions are complicated, this one is clear: Yes. Building codes, materials, and strategic planning continue to evolve in response to wildfire threats. Every new home has the capacity to be rebuilt to be more resistant to fire, often without a significant increase in price.
2. Will you be able to get affordable insurance?
This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer for many people. Whether or not you can get high-quality, affordable insurance depends on your location, home value, type of construction, home age, whether it’s a commercial or residential property, and if you live in a high-risk area. It’s a good idea to research your options before you make any decisions.
3. Are your neighbors likely to rebuild, and will your community be the same or better?
Each community is different. The success of rebuilding is often dependent upon a community’s shared vision and determination. Speaking with your neighbors can help identify what institutions and assets you collectively value. When communities speak with one unified voice, it can provide leverage when dealing with local governments. If possible, view this as an opportunity for new beginnings.
4. What are your work, school, & lifestyle considerations?
Do you have kids? Then maybe the school system is incredibly important. Do you have pets? Maybe you want a fenced yard. Do you work from home? Maybe you can be flexible on location. Ultimately, your choices depend on your desired lifestyle.
5. Would you be happier in a different environment? If so, where?
Only you can answer this question. Maybe you have family and community elsewhere. Maybe your current community is your home and you can’t imagine leaving. Writing down the advantages and disadvantages of each place you’re considering can help you clearly organize your thoughts.
6. Which move makes the most financial sense for you?
We suggest three main options to consider:
- Build a new home on your current lot.
- Sell your lot and buy an existing home elsewhere.
- Sell your lot, buy a new lot, and build a new home elsewhere.
Rebuilding or buying a home will typically maximize your insurance payout. If you choose not to rebuild or buy a home, you could be leaving 30–40% of your policy value on the table.
The decision to rebuild involves many considerations. It’s important to understand the risks and rewards of every option. This decision requires a holistic view of your life and what you want the future to look like. If you need help weighing the options, Homebound has a team of seasoned experts who are ready to discuss this decision with you.
More on rebuilding:
- If not here, then where? Check out this Bloomberg article detailing the complexities of rebuilding.
- Watch our webinar: Join Homebound’s Insurance Advisor Justin Hoellerich and Head of Sales Greg Glass for our latest webinar “Should You Rebuild After a Fire?” for a more detailed conversation on rebuilding.
- Understand the terminology: Top 10 Insurance Terms You Need to Know.
- Explore the Wildland Urban Interface: Use this interactive map to visualize the WUI.
- Rebuilding made easy: Homebound CEO Nikki Pechet, explains the need for a more efficient rebuilding option.