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houseAs wild fires rage through Western states, many as-yet unaffected homeowners are asking themselves what they can do to prepare for a future disaster that could prove devastating to their home and property. Thankfully, there is much all homeowners can do to prepare for any kind of disaster, as long as they start the preparations before the disaster is in full swing.

  • Save money: By saving money during the good times you ensure that you have a cushion for the bad. The money that you set aside in your savings account can help pay for your insurance deductibles, help keep your family safe and housed before you receive your insurance claims check and can help you get the necessary counseling to help deal with the stress and the loss.
  • Buy insurance: A home insurance policy allows you an affordable means to replace the value of the items that you may lose during a disaster. With a home insurance policy, you can receive the rebuilding costs (up to limits) of your dwelling and outside structures. You can also receive actual or replacement value of the property you had inside the home. When designing your home insurance policy, make sure that you choose limits which are appropriate to the value of your property and rebuilding costs for your home. Also, choose a deductible that you can afford because while deductibles lower your premiums, dealing with a hefty deductible after a home disaster is a recipe for unnecessary stress. Lastly, don't forget to add an appropriate loss of use benefit. Loss of use benefits can pay certain expenses related to the temporary relocation of your family. Not only does this take some of the stress out of finding temporary lodging but it also helps preserve your savings for other necessities.
  • Complete a home inventory: In order to ensure that your assets are properly insured and that you can correctly fill out claims forms to get the full value of your lost assets, complete a room-by-room home inventory. This inventory will list every item held in each room of your home and may include information such as the condition of the item, the model number and the original cost. If you have a tablet or Smartphone, you can look for apps which make the home inventory process a little bit easier and less cumbersome.
  • Prepare your home: Depending on the specific disasters that your home is at risk of experiencing, you may be able to invest in preventative and protective items to help stem the damage. This can include sandbags, hurricane shutters, fire sprinkler systems and more. Not only will these items help prevent the overall damage your home receives, but they may also lower your home insurance premiums.
  • Add antitheft devices: If your neighborhood is being evacuated, you may be at risk for theft and looting. Invest in antitheft devices such as alarms and reinforce the locks in your home.
  • Automate premiums: During a disaster, it's important to continue making premium payments for all of your insurance policies—not just those that will help with your disaster claims. To do so when you’re away from home, consider automating your premiums through your insurance company or bank right now. That way, if the worst should happen, your premium payments will still be made and you won't have to think about it.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit: Should you need to evacuate, you'll want certain supplies to ensure your comfort and safety while at public or private evacuation locations. Fill your evacuation kit with a few days’ worth of nonperishable food and water, a flashlight, matches and candles, blankets, a first aid kit, pet necessities, a battery operated radio, your insurance papers and other important documents, and several days worth of prescription medications for anyone in your family who needs them.
  • Create a plan for quick evacuation and safe shelter: There are some disasters that require fast evacuations, such as tornadoes. Some of your disaster readiness preparations should be spent developing an evacuation or other plan for these flash disasters. For example if you have a basement that will create a safe location for your family during a tornado, then you can plan to go there as soon as the warnings are issued. If not, you must come up with an alternative plan. For other disasters that require you to leave your home such as floods, fires, and hurricanes, determine the location of both a private and a public shelter that will be open to you during the evacuation. By having two options, you give yourself the luxury of privacy when possible as well as a last-minute emergency location. In addition, plan several evacuation routes that will allow you to reach each destination. By having several routes you can avoid the stress of finding your planned route impassable either due to traffic or damage brought on by the disaster.

You might not think much about your home insurance policy while a disaster is occurring, but you’ll definitely appreciate the presence of your policy afterward. Give us a call today and make an appointment to meet with one of our agents to go over your current Round Rock home insurance policy and allow us to help you find any gaps or changes that should be made to help you prepare for a potential disaster.

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