CHICAGO — While a family’s most treasured possessions can be destroyed in a matter of moments by a home fire or natural disaster, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is reminding consumers that it also only takes a few minutes to make preparations that can protect those things that matters most.
During September PCI is participating in National Preparedness Month and highlighting important steps homeowners can take to create a family plan for emergencies and make sure they are fully ready for a natural disaster or other emergency situations by conducting an insurance checkup to ensure they are adequately covered.
“Having a plan that includes steps to help you become insurance ready for a disaster is a great way to protect your family, yourself, and your belongings, said Chris Hackett, PCI’s senior director of personal lines policy. “One very useful, yet simple preparedness step residents can take is to conduct a home inventory which provides them with a record of all their possessions. Unfortunately, many homeowners and business owners overlook this step which can really come in handy following a major disaster.
Simply by using your smartphone camera, you can document the items inside every room of your home. “After a major disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or even a fire, it’s tough to remember exactly what you had inside your home. The home inventory will help speed up the claims process and ensure you are compensated fully for your loss,” added Hackett.
Keep the inventory and your insurance policies in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or online in your email or cloud. In addition to using video, inventories can be completed in a variety of ways using online tools, apps or specially-designed software. Several insurance companies have home inventory apps you can download as well which will help you keep your list in a safe place.
“It’s always a good idea to check with your insurer or agent to see what resources they have available and you don’t want to wait until the last minute,” said Hackett. “Making sure you have a plan in place is important. Taking a home inventory literally only takes a few minutes and could save you hours of trying to determine exactly what you lost.”
PCI’s The Have a Plan: Make a Home Inventory interactive infographic shows you exactly how to document your possessions.
PCI Insurance Checklist:
Talk with your insurance agent or company about your insurance policy. Check your deductible and make sure you have a solid understanding of your current coverage. Also be sure to conduct a home inventory.
Assess whether you have adequate home, auto and other property coverage. Property damage can take a tremendous financial and mental toll. Knowing you have proper coverage will give you peace of mind.
Review additional coverage options, particularly flood coverage. Heavy rains and storm surge can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Keep in mind that there’s typically a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and when flood coverage takes effect. Also, depending on where you live it might be a good idea to check into purchasing earthquake insurance. The standard homeowners policy does not cover losses that result from earthquakes, due to the unpredictability and widespread catastrophic nature of these events. The deductible for earthquake insurance varies based on the policy and the insurer. These deductibles are generally based on a percentage of the replacement value of the home. The deductible can range from two to 25 percent of the home's replacement value.
For more tips on how to prepare for a natural disasters follow us @PCIAA use #NatlPrep or #HaveAPlan
As a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador, PCI takes great pride in being part of the of a national coalition made up of federal agencies, first responders, private sector companies, schools and community organizations that work throughout the year and promote September as National Preparedness month for all natural catastrophes.