Just like with a family plan, when an emergency is imminent is too late to adequately protect your property. It’s important to keep and maintain a plan for your property year-round to ensure adequate coverage.
The first step, according to FEMA, is to document your property and keep a detailed inventory. This includes pictures, written descriptions, and a record of the year, make, model and serial numbers. Store your inventory with your other important documents in a fire-safe box. Next, you want to make sure all that property is properly insured. Your local agent can help, and can help make sure you’re covered for certain disasters common in your area, like a flood.
Some things to understand about insurance are what kinds of coverage you need (fire, flood, tropical cyclone), types of policies (homeowners or renters) and what your coverage limits are for structures, personal property, liability, medical protection and in other circumstances. Your mortgage company may require a certain minimum coverage, but your situation may demand a lower deductible or special coverages for certain items.
Talk with a local agent and be frank about your needs, your finances and your possessions. Remember that floods and earthquakes aren’t usually covered by regular homeowners policies and may require special coverage.
How to File a Claim
In the event of property loss, make sure you know how to file a claim. Do so as soon as it’s possible to safely access your property. Remember to save all your receipts and take lots of pictures and video of your damaged property. Remember that your policy may cover replacement costs at normal market value, but may not cover price surges that often follow a major disaster. Also know what government aid will and will not cover; remember, government disaster aid is designed to give you basic shelter, not replace what was lost.