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It is quite clear from many recent events that Mother Nature is more than capable of springing some nasty surprises with the weather which can cause terrible devastation and damage, not to mention some events that can be equally as damaging that are manmade. In times of upheaval and sometimes extreme difficulties, we want to get back to normal as quickly as possible and getting your financial paperwork in order is a sure fire way of speeding up the recovery process.
Check your insurance details – Depending on the scale or severity of any particular event such as a natural disaster involving hurricanes or flooding for example, many homeowners will be left under-insured and some damage may not be covered at all. Check out the level of cover that you currently have and see what you are actually insured against as many insurance companies have a long list of exclusions that many of us are unaware of.
Update your policy details – It is always a good idea to reassess your cover at least every two years and make your insurance company aware of any significant changes that have been made to the property, such as a basement conversion. If you do not tell them of any changes and you make a subsequent claim for damage, it gives them a good opportunity to downgrade or even refuse your claim if you had not made a full declaration of facts.
Be prepared for an emergency – Having got your cover sorted out and once you are satisfied that you have taken all reasonable steps to insure against most possible emergency situations, you should take an inventory covering the contents of your home. If you are not sure whether this is a waste of time or not, imagine being parted from your possessions for even a couple of weeks and having to write down a comprehensive list of everything that you own that needs replacing from memory. You would do well to remember half of it, so write it down, maybe put it on a spreadsheet if you want, which is better as you can recover data more easily, and also take a photographic record of any significant items together with a general photo of each room. This will greatly improve your chances of making a successful claim as you can prove what you had prior to the loss.
Emergency documents – None of us want to contemplate losing everything we have in a fire or maybe as a result of a natural disaster but there is no harm in playing smart to ensure that you can quickly pick up the pieces again if you have to. Important documents such as deeds, marriage certificates, insurance details and other significant items that have a high personal value and also confirm your identity, should ideally be stored in a safety deposit box away from the property, although you should not do this with a will which is best in the hands of your attorney. Make a copy of these documents and either keep them in a secure box that you can collect quickly in an emergency evacuation or better still, leave it with a trusted relative or friend. Having this information to hand when you are trying to re-build your life after an emergency situation will greatly ease the obvious stress that you will be under by enabling you to quickly confirm any information that you are being asked to provide.
The odds are thankfully still quite high that you will not have to deal with an emergency of this scale in your life, but it is surely no bad thing to get your paperwork in order and be prepared for any eventuality.
This post has been contributed by Stephen Catalano. He is a home security and safety advisor who enjoys sharing his tips by blogging for personal finance and home owner blogs. Get more information from the largest home insurance marketplace homeinsurance.com.