Here at HailandWind.com we take storms seriously. In fact, it is our mission to help you prepare for their eventual arrival and recovery in the wake of their passing. In the past we have talked with you about how to prepare your home to survive the storm, and even how to prepare your family to survive, but what happens after the storm has come and gone?
For the next several posts we are going to be sharing a check list of things you can do as a home owner to prepare for after the storm. There will be accompanying video footage on our home page, so be sure that you are a fan of HailandWind on Facebook.
Step 1: Document your Home and Belongings
In the worst case scenario, your home is flattened or swept away and there isn’t enough left to identify the remains, but in most cases, most if not all of your home and belongings will survive, but may be damaged beyond repair. We all buy home owners insurance in the belief that when worse comes to worst, the “Goodhands” man will swoop in on a helicopter with a bag of cash and sweep us away to shop for new stuff, leaving the mess to get cleaned up by the crew from Extreme Home Makeover.
A good insurance adjuster will have your back, up to the limitations of your policy, but even the good ones need your help. In cases where the quality of goods and materials in your home cannot be established, a minimum replacement cost is often given in place of the actual cost to replace your carpet, furniture, or electronics. By documenting the condition of your home, the materials in it and your belongings, you can help the adjuster take care of you like they hopefully want to.
Start with a list of items that may be expensive, or difficult to replace. List serial numbers, descriptions and other identifying factors. Then use a digital camera, or video camera to record images of each individual item or material. Photograph each room of the house, and its contents. Especially expensive items such as flooring and window treatment. Once you have captured the images, email them to yourself and your insurance agent for safekeeping, along with the list of items, serial numbers and descriptions. Then save a copy onto a thumb drive or other portable media.
While this won’t prevent a hurricane, tornado or flood from invading your home, it may be the key to making a quick and full recovery in case of disaster.
Next time we will go over your insurance policy to make sure it is “storm proof”. Want to get a head start? Find the declarations page of your policy and familiarize yourself with its content. We will show you what to look for and how to correct any deficiencies it may have.