Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | May 15, 2014

Do you have your ‘Stuff’ photographed? Insurance review?

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May 15, 2014 but news you can use today, too:

Got a couple minutes?  Just in case you ever need to deal with what some folks are confronted with after loosing their homes, you might want to do what I just did.

Photograph your stuff.  Inside and out of all the cupboards and closets, patio furniture, jewelry, sleds lined up, EVERYTHING.  Save it on your computer, but also post it up on a Cloud.  Google Drive is free, easy, and you can make it a private album.  Then you might walk through with your video on and do the same thing, making comments, and put that up. It is a lot easier than trying to convince an insurance company that you had all those sets of dishes.  (What am I thinking?!?? You only use one bowl at a time!  But they were my mother’s!  Ah, ‘stuff’.)

Scan your files.  The cover page of insurance policies, deeds to your properties, birth certificates, etc.  Tonight I plan to photograph the pages of our photo albums. After evacuating and being away for 18 days with the last fire up here, we aren’t planning on packing up a lot of stuff if it happens again.   (Sometimes there is no time to pack anything at all, anyway).  Over the years, I’ve planned to scan paperwork and photos (maybe between midnight and 4 am), but it hasn’t happened.  My iPad photos came out as clear as can be.  And, Genius Scan (free app) gives you a very clean pdf!   Just an idea for a little project for you!

Go Bag  – Be sure you have an updated To Go bag including prescriptions, eyeglasses, water, pet food…

County Records – Check with your County Assessor’s office to confirm what they have on your record. Perhaps someone added on to your home (maybe you) with our without permits, or there are detached outbuildings. When your records show all of what is currently existing – permits or not – it is much easier to rebuild. Otherwise all you get for the quick ‘rebuild after a fire’ permits, is what is on the records …  I am glad to assist with this free service.

Thanks to Rosemary for passing on the following UT Article: FIRES GOOD REMINDER TO REVIEW INSURANCE POLICIES FOR HOMES

This week’s wildfire outbreak in San Diego County is giving homeowners a real-world reminder to make sure their insurance policies are up to date and adequate.

After the 2007 wildfires, a number of San Diegans found out the hard way that they were underinsured and couldn’t replace everything that was lost.

“One of the biggest challenges that we have after major disasters is people don’t realize what coverage they have,” said Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network. “Many times people will buy a home, they’ll get their policy and then throw it in a drawer and just pay every year.”

In California, a standard homeowners insurance policy covers fire damage, but the extent of that coverage may not be enough for what a person needs to protect. That’s especially important in San Diego, where the insurance network says 239,000 homes, about 20 percent of all properties in the county, are at high or extreme risk of wildfire damage. An additional 276,000, or 23 percent, are at moderate risk of damage.

Homeowner’s insurance covers not only the home itself, but property inside. More than 90 percent of homeowners buy the insurance, and about 30 percent to 40 percent of renters buy insurance for their belongings, Moraga said. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re protected:

  •  Make sure the coverage is adequate. Homeowner’s policies don’t cover the amount you paid for your house, but how much it would cost to rebuild it, which is often more expensive because it includes new building materials and clearing debris. Also, there’s no bulk discount. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have enough coverage in case you need a full replacement. For instance, a home could include copper pipes, which are expensive to replace and therefore can add to the cost. Or a home could be built on a slope, making it more difficult to build.
  •  Review your policy every year to discuss coverage options. Update the policy if you recently remodeled so that it covers all of your investment. It’s a good idea to at least look at policy limits, which typically appear on the declaration space under “Section 1, Coverage A, Dwelling.”
  •  Make sure to buy insurance even if your home is already paid off. Otherwise, the maximum federal grant for disaster recovery is $33,000, nowhere near enough to rebuild a home. Also, know whether your policy pays to replace items or gives actual cash value for losses, which accounts for depreciation. For the latter, a 10-year-old couch would be replaced with the value of a 10-year-old couch, which likely won’t be enough to replace the couch.
  •  Document everything in your home. If you have to evacuate, it will be much easier to get insurance companies to replace items if you can prove you had them. The California Department of Insurance recommends using a smartphone to take a video walk-through of your property, narrating everything that you have, making sure to mention value and other key details.
  •  Protect your valuables: Most policies cover items worth up to $1,500. If you have something worth more, such as fine jewelry or a 3D television, you can buy extra coverage for those items, called a floater.

For more information, call the Department of Insurance at 1-800-927-HELP (4357), or visit Cal Fire’s website

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