23 September 2011

Prep30: Consider adequate insurance as part of your preparedness planning

Most of these Prep30 posts involve specific actions that you can take or supplies you can gather to help you and your family survive and eventually return to a normal lifestyle. However, it is important to give some consideration to doing the same for your home and belongings too. Buying an appropriate level of insurance is one way to help accomplish that. Here are a few tips:
  1. Logically enough, if you're renting your home, you can only insure your possessions, not the structure. Often, people skip buying renter's insurance, either because they feel it's too expensive, or that they don't have enough to be worth insuring. First, it's not that expensive: depending on the location of where you rent, and how much insurance you buy, renter's insurance may be only $10 to $20 per month. As for not having enough to insure... consider what it would take to replace everything you own. That price is probably pretty high, which is why you need insurance. Read How to Decide Whether to Get Renter's Insurance to help you consider if it's right for you.

  2. If you're purchasing a home, it's very likely that you're required to have homeowner's insurance, which replaces your home, and also covers your possessions. Even if you own your home outright, it's worth carrying insurance in order to help protect your investment. Take a look at How to Buy Homeowner's Insurance for a basic discussion of things to consider in buying your insurance.

  3. Bear in mind that not all natural disasters are automatically covered by your homeowner's insurance. For instance, if you live in or near a floodplain, you'll likely require a special rider on your policy, or perhaps supplemental flood insurance to be properly covered. Don't ignore this... investigate the likely threats in your region, and ask your insurance agent detailed questions about your coverage. Refer to How to Get Insurance Protection Against Natural Disasters to get more tips on ensuring you have proper insurance against the likely natural disasters.

  4. In the event of a natural disaster or some home emergency, you'll be far better prepared if you have a thorough inventory of your home and it's contents. Although it takes some time, plan on taking some time on an upcoming weekend (or whenever) to document your possessions. If nothing else, use a video camera (even the one on your mobile phone) and walk through your home, videotaping each area of content. Open closets, cupboards, etc., and record what's in them. Of course, it's far better to have an actual list of the important contents, along with the purchase price, etc. You can get more information by reading How to Conduct a Home Inventory.

  5. In the event that you do eventually need to file an insurance claim, properly documenting the damage and submitting the claim are important. Review How to Make a Detailed Content List
    and How to Prepare to File an Insurance Claim in the Event of Disaster now (before you need them), so that you're prepared when the time comes.

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