With the recent increase in natural disasters, including wildfires, it's important to safeguard your home and your family. If you own a home, the time to prepare for a natural disaster, is before the disaster occurs. Knowing what to do in advance will ensure that you don't make mistakes after-the-fact. The first thing you need to do is make sure that your homeowners policy is up-to-date, and that it includes the coverage you'll need to fully recover from a natural disaster. It's also important that you develop a support team before you need them. This support team should be people that you'll be able to depend on should the need arise. Finally, you'll need to know what steps you should to take immediately following the disaster. Here's some information to help you prepare.
Notify Your Insurance Agent
After a natural disaster, you'll need to notify your insurance agent immediately. This is particularly important if your home has been destroyed. The sooner you file an insurance claim, the sooner your agent will be able to arrange for your family's emergency needs, including housing and replacement of necessary personal property such as clothing.
Document the Damage with Pictures and Videos
Once you've notified your insurance agent, and filed a claim, you should take pictures of the damage. Taking pictures of the damage will allow you to document the scene. Be sure to take pictures of the exterior and interior of your home, including every room. If you have a video recorder, it's a good idea to walk through the house and record the scene. While pictures are important, a video will allow a step-by-step walk-through of your home immediately following the disaster.
Prevent Break-Ins and Vandalism
If your home has been rendered uninhabitable by the disaster, you'll need to make sure it's secure before you leave. The last thing you want is for vandals to come in while you're away, and cause further damage, or loot your home. Have someone come in and place plywood over the windows and doors. This will secure your home until the insurance company can come out and inspect the damage.
Safeguard Your Receipts
While your home is being restored, you'll be living elsewhere. During that time, you'll want to keep receipts for everything you purchase regarding your living expenses, including meals, replacement clothing, and other items you need for survival. In most cases, your insurance will reimburse you for those expenses. However, you'll need to provide proof, which is why you'll need to keep all your receipts.
Be prepared. If your home is destroyed in a natural disaster, the tips provided here will help you and your family recover.
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