Saturday, September 5, 2009

Get Your House In Order in Case A Disaster Strikes

The following essay is by Cameron Huddleston of Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Sunday, September 6, 2009

The wildfires in California are a reminder that disaster can strike at any time, and it pays to be prepared.

Howard Mills, chief adviser of Deloitte & Touche's Insurance Industry Group and a former New York insurance superintendent, offers these tips.

How to Prepare

-- Know what you have to lose. Take a home inventory, by video if possible.

-- Know what your homeowners policy covers and the difference between assessed value and actual replacement value. Too many people learn only after a fire that they were underinsured.

-- Clear your yard of items that could fuel a fire.

-- Prepare an emergency kit that includes medical supplies, cash, enough food and water for up to a week, pet supplies, and camping equipment.

-- Make sure your entire household knows the drill. Rehearse a 10-minute evacuation with your family -- that may be all the advance warning you are given.

What to Do Afterward

-- Take stock after the fire. If it's safe, take an inventory of damage. If you have been evacuated and didn't prepare an inventory of your belongings, do it now.

-- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible -- get losses on record immediately.

-- Be smart about hiring contractors. Beware of fly-by-night service providers and keep receipts to ensure a smooth claims process.

-- Reach out to your state insurance department if you are having difficulty reaching your insurer.

-- Don't forget about the extras included in your insurance policy. Some policies offer payment for living expenses and temporary housing, among other items.

CONTACT INFORMATION: If you or a family member have been injured or damaged due to the fault or responsibility of someone else, an industrial accident or by a dangerous or defective product, drug or toxic substance, contact Alan Morton for a no obligation, free consultation.

For additional information contact:

Alan L. Morton
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Telephone: 208.344.5555
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 [866.WIN.1.NOW]
Facsimile: 208.342.2509

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