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Serving in the insurance industry along with my husband being a local volunteer firefighter, I’ve witnessed the aftermath of various total devastation. From fires to floods, and personally experiencing a tornado, the effects are long term, and most certainly traumatic and life changing.
Recently we had an insured who lost everything they had in a house fire, save their spouse and 2 dogs (thank heavens). If there was anything left untouched by the fire itself, it was marked by the rancid stinch it left behind while drenched by the water from the fire hoses.
The fire has done nothing less than turn their world upside down.
Which brings to mind some important questions to ask yourself…What would you do if you woke up tomorrow with only the clothes on your back?
Could you afford to go out and replace all your belongings? Rent a hotel room for 3-6 months or longer while repairs are made? Could you remember and be able to list all the items in your home prior to the fire? That’s a lot to ask when someone is struggling after a disaster like this. You can be better prepared.
So, what can you do right now, for yourself and your family, to make the process of restoration less painful?
Here are 5 tips to make catastrophe less painful:
- Take photos or make a list of items in your home and store it somewhere else. KnowYourStuff.org is a great place to start. There are also a variety of free online storage for photos (if you can remember your passwords!).
- Review your insurance policies for limits on specific items such as firearms, jewelry, collections, etc. Don’t get surprised when you have a claim and find out that your insurance company won’t pay for that $4,000 rock your honey got you last Valentine’s…because you never read your policy.
- Know your agent and keep them updated on your contact information and any changes that happen throughout your policy term. Remodeling, replacing roofing, and purchasing high value items are things they need to know to keep you insured properly.
- Talk with your family about disaster planning. What would you do in case of a fire? Tornado? Robbery? Knowing these things ahead of time make tragedies less painful…and in many cases, save lives.
- Be aware of weather events. Pretty much everyone has a cell phone allowing you to be able to receive weather alerts. Or you can get a weather radio from Wal-Mart for $20 to $30 bucks.
Have you experienced first hand any total devastation? I’d love to hear your stories. Someday I’ll share my “tornado” story with you. By sharing, you can play a part in encouraging others who’ve faced similar events, and educate ones who haven’t.
For more tips on Emergency Preparedness and Weather Safety, visit Travelers online.
By: Carlene Stanton
Don’t worry yourself sick about the safety of your loved ones and property…