This week I have some tips about what to do to best recover AFTER a disaster – what you would wish you had done before an individual or major disaster impacts your family or community.
- Identification of all family members (passport, social security cards, birth certificates)
- Checks with deposit slips (provides checking account number and institution)
- Copy of ATM and credit cards, medical ID cards
- Contact card you prepared in October for your out of state contact
- Items from your “go bag” plus
- Homeowners insurance policy
- Two years federal tax returns
- All investment account statements
- Checking account statement
- Household inventory (see below)
- Password list
Insurance – Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Homeowners & Renters
Fire insurance protects the structure, structures and contents of your home. It is important to know that earthquake insurance must be offered to you but is optional coverage.
If you rent – you must insure the contents of your home yourself. If you have a condo or townhome you must insure the fixtures and improvements inside the walls. The policy the landlord or HOA has does NOT cover more than the structure. Check with your insurance agent annually to be sure you are current.
Be sure your policy has a replacement cost coverage for your home that includes a building code upgrade. If you have an older home and suffer a loss you will be required to comply with current codes when rebuilding and that could add thousands to the cost. Same with contents insurance – it should replace your stuff – not just a pro-rated value of its original cost
Take a video inventory of your entire house. This could be a fun project for a summer afternoon and worthy of bribing a kid to do it.
A “flip video” camera is effective as it creates a digital file that can be copied onto a CD for storage and to create more than one copy. Narrate the video describing the room, fixtures and contents and be sure to open every drawer. This is not for public display so don’t worry if it is not perfect or your home is no immaculate. It will be the basis for creating a very detailed list of contents were your home to be destroyed.
Prepare a separate video and/or list of electronic equipment including serial numbers. Closely document all valuables – art, jewelry, heirlooms including an appraisal if available. That will be invaluable in the event of a loss.
Pictures, ancestry files, etc – maintain copies of important family pictures, documents on your computer (and then archive the drive). Save on a jump drive or secure online service.