Seeing the devastation wrought by the firestorms that engulfed areas of the North Bay in the last couple of days is a cautionary reminder to make sure that you are ready should the same thing happen to you. In light of this, I’m sharing an article from the Mercury News, which provides a helpful checklist of how to prepare for emergencies and set a plan of action when disaster strikes.
Moreover, and of particular interest to me, there are key things to do now on a financial front to prepare. This includes:
- Insurance check – if you haven’t done so recently, check to see that your home is properly insured, and that your coverage is able to rebuild/restore your dwelling and contents (with little to no money out of your pocket) to their prior state in the event of a catastrophic loss like a fire.
- Maintaining a digital inventory of contents is helpful in processing claims – nowadays, with cellphones able to take high quality pictures and video, it takes less time to be able to catalogue your belongings and have a record of specific items for which you are insured (i.e. art, jewelry pieces, antiques, etc.).
- Store things that matter most – everything might seem important in the face of loss, but family documents are essential in the recovery process. Gather birth certificates, insurance papers, estate plans and home documents (mortgage papers, house deeds, etc.). Keep cash on hand. Then store everything in one convenient place where you can grab it in an instant.
- Keep an asset inventory, preferably saved in a digital format and backed up somewhere accessible (i.e. a cloud drive) in the event your electronics are destroyed. This allows you to keep track of your accounts, contacts, etc. in case all other paperwork is destroyed. Here is a helpful document from Schwab to get you started.
Stay safe everyone; failing that do as the Boy Scouts do and, “Be prepared.”