In a continuation of what we can do to help others who have been affected by wildfire here in Colorado I have compiled some information on how to prepare in case this happens to you. I spent some time with Moody Insurance Agency’s Partner/ Insurance and Risk Consultant Jamie Lummis to discuss protecting your home and its contents. I will open this article by saying if you are not insured then hurry up, protect your home and your belongings with comprehensive home insurance coverage or renters insurance.
For those who have coverage, whether it is homeowners or renters insurance, the first thing you need to do is check in with your insurance agent or insurance provider and be sure your policy is in force. Jamie Lummis noted “it is surprising how often a disaster strikes and a lapse in payment results in zero coverage for many people because they were unaware that payments had not been received. The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to get on a monthly electronic funds transfer (EFT) program”.
Once you have clarified that your policy is in force take an inventory of your belongings. As Jamie Lummis said, “Many people have no idea what they have”. A quick video of your home along with photos to document items will assist you in having a record and will stand as a reminder if you have lost them in a disaster. Record images of each room, closets, garage and shed space. Place this information in a safe deposit box or somewhere like a relatives home. Our family recently conducted this exercise and there were items like tennis rackets, fine china and jewelry that I probably would have forgotten about. When I spoke with my insurance agent Maggie Lifland, CEO of Arrow Insurance Management, Inc. in Breckenridge, she asked for all of our images and uploaded them straight into our Insurance file.
I inquired about recording serial numbers from our computers, televisions, new washer, dryer and other big ticket items and was told that it is not necessary as long as you have images. Of course these are images of items that are in your house…
If a disaster strikes Jamie told me “the insurance process will move very quickly. You will see money come in for living expenses and things you need – clothes, shelter, etc. Save your receipts, you will need to prove that you bought replacement items”. The same will apply to items you lost in your home if you are in that position.
Now that you know you are covered and you have documented your belongings. Prep a plan with your family. Where will you meet if you are not home, if you had 20 minutes to evacuate what will you take… if you can take anything? How about your pets? There are volunteers who help evacuate pets in wildfire situations if you are not allowed back to your home. You will need specific forms filled out, contact your animal shelter to find out more.
The most IMPORTANT thing to remember – you have to PROTECT YOURSELF first! If someone says Get Out – Do It!! You and your family cannot be replaced, your things, They Can. Be careful out there everyone.
~MTN Town Magazine