September is National Preparedness Month. This is a great time to review your personal emergency preparedness and confirm the adequacy of the insurance coverage protecting you and your assets.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires raging in the West are grave reminders that the weather forecast can’t always predict coming catastrophes. Disasters can strike without warning so it’s important to be prepared at all times. Check Ready.gov for a comprehensive list of ways to improve your readiness. Proper insurance coverage is a crucial element of every preparedness plan.
Key Insurance Questions to Review and Discuss with Your Insurance Agent
To build a strong safety net of protection, your insurance agent needs to have all the information about your potential exposures. Here are some key questions to discuss with your agent:
- Are any of my properties located in an area susceptible to flood, earthquake, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes or wildfires?
- Have I made any home improvements that could increase the value of my property?
- Have I added any features to my home such as an underground pool, elevator, or entertainment room?
- Is my agent aware of all my fine art, firearms, collectibles and jewelry?
- Has the value of my vehicles changed?
- Have I purchased new assets such as electronics or recreational vehicles in the last year?
- Are any of my vehicles or homes rented, shared or used for business purposes?
- Has my family structure changed? (For example: new baby, adoptions, kids going to college, retirement)
Electronic Documentation to Prepare
Store key documents, photos and information about your assets in a home inventory app, or in the cloud so they are safe from fire and theft and can be accessed from anywhere if a disaster requires you to leave your home.
Check your homeowners insurance policyholder app to see if it includes a home inventory tool. If not, there are several inexpensive options available online. Your electronic documentation should include:
- Appraisals, photos, and itemized statements for your fine arts, collectibles, and jewelry.
- Appraisals, photos, and itemized statements for any exotic, modified, or restored automobiles that have a different value than the original purchase price.
- Receipts, photos, and documentation of personal property inside the home and any renovations done to the structure. Don’t forget about your garage and outdoor entertainment spaces/structures.
While some things cannot be replaced like your grandmother’s cookbooks or old family photos, we want to make you as whole as possible on the other side of a disaster.
These steps may seem tedious but in the event of a loss, but they are crucial in helping you recover quickly. Creating a complete inventory now will make the claims process much easier later, at a time when you are likely to be stressed.
Small Business Considerations
If you own a small business, you will need to take a few more steps.
- If you work out of your home, make sure to tell your insurance agent, so that office assets can be properly covered.
- If you have an offsite business location, it may have the same vulnerabilities as your home and will require the same type of electronic inventory and asset documentation.
- Another big concern during a loss to a business is business income and extra expense. This coverage pays for any ongoing expenses you may have while your business is shut down due to a loss. This coverage could cover payroll, a temporary office, utilities, lease payments, and rental equipment to maintain business operations.
Complete Your Annual Coverage Checkup Now
We are here to help you protect the life you’ve worked so hard to build. Please contact us anytime for a review of your homeowners, auto, flood, earthquake, and/or business coverage.