Is your home covered in case of a disaster? An unfortunate reality is that most homes are underinsured, meaning they don’t have enough coverage to protect them if they are damaged or destroyed. While we hope you are never faced with making a claim, here are some resources to help make sure you are prepared:
Complete the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s (PCI) Wildfire Reality Check:
- Conduct an annual insurance checkup – call your agent or insurance company to discuss policy limits and coverage. Not sure what to ask? Check out these 10 questions to ask your insurance agent from Linda Masterson, author and wildfire survivor.
- Know what your policy covers
- Update your policy to cover home improvements
- Maintain insurance – continue to carry homeowners insurance after the home is paid off
- Get renters insurance
Create a home inventory. Having a home inventory is one of the best ways to determine if you have enough coverage to replace your possessions. This task may seem daunting, especially if you’ve been in your home for many years, but it can be manageable. Some simple steps from the Insurance Information Institute include:
- Pick an easy spot to start, an area that is contained such as a small kitchen appliance cabinet or sporting equipment closet
- List recent purchases
- Include basic information – where you bought it, make and model, what you paid
- County clothing by general category
- Record serial numbers found on major appliances and electronic equipment
- Check coverage on big ticket items
- Don’t forget off-site items
- Keep proof of value – sales receipts, purchase contracts, appraisals
- Don’t get overwhelmed – It’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all
When creating your home inventory, embrace technology! Take pictures or videos, back them up digitally. There also many apps available to help organize and store your records.
For a more in depth discussion on financial preparedness, check out our Firewise Virtual Workshop: Understanding Insurance in the Wildland Urban Interface. Or, listen to Linda Masterson share her experience of losing her home and contents in a wildfire, Firewise Virtual Workshop: Get Prepared, Stay Alive, Rebuild Your Life.
Along with financial preparedness, it’s never too late to take action around your home. Visit the NFPA’s wildfire division for steps on how to prepare your home for wildfires.