Disasters are going to happen. There have been a number of them this year. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or what will happen next. It might be a forest fire, electrical fire, hurricane, tornado, flood, or earthquake. You can’t protect yourself from every disaster, but there are steps to help you put the odds in your favor.
Start by making a checklist of all the items you feel cannot be replaced. Save this list where it can be located quickly. This will help avoid an important item being left behind as your mind is racing during an emergency.
Examples of items for your list:
- Home and auto insurance paperwork
- Automobile titles
- Healthcare information
- Passports, marriage and birth certificates
- Wills and trusts
- Memorabilia, keepsakes, heirlooms
- Photos (not already backed up digitally)
- Statements: banking, mortgage, credit cards
- Investments and retirement information
- A few years of tax returns
Many of these are available online. Of the items that are not available digitally, scan them to your computer and save them on your home computer and in your backup location (preferably off site or in a fireproof safe).
If your home is destroyed, the insurance company will want a list of damaged items. The best way to do this is with pictures or video. Start with the exterior of the home and yard. Then move through each room, closet, and storage area. Label the pictures or videos and save them to your computer (and your backup). Remember to update as necessary.
This might be a good time to check with your insurance to make certain you have proper coverage to rebuild or repair your home in the event of a disaster. Go through scenarios that concern you to confirm you are covered. (Many policies do not cover floods or earthquakes.)
As we have seen, disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Take time to be prepared should disaster regrettably strike.