TOPEKA – Last night’s storm that swept through Marshall County, and the Tuesday tornado causing damage in Nemaha County, makes this week a good time to remind you of a few important things you can do to be proactive with their property. Research shows that more than half of American consumers don't have an inventory of the possessions they'd want their insurance company to replace in case of a fire, theft, or other disaster.
“In the aftermath of any substantial damage to our property, it’s likely many of us would be emotionally drained. The last thing we are going to want to do is make a list of everything we lost,” said Jim Hanni, AAA Kansas spokesperson. “Preparing in advance for an unexpected disaster could mean a faster return to normal life, and a little less stress along the way, including a more speedy claims process,” he said.
Here are some important steps:
Inventory Creation – 5 Easy Steps:
1. Grab your camera or smartphone and take a tour of your home.
2. Record everything you'd want your insurance company to replace. Don't forget all the stuff in your closets and garage, or you may have a hard time convincing your claim adjuster that yes, you really did have 63 pairs of shoes or top-of-the-line ski equipment.
3. Pull together copies of sales receipts and any other documentation. Also note model and serial numbers.
4. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe and easily accessible place, including online, with friends or family, or in a safe deposit box. Don't rely solely on your home computer, which should always be backed up, in case of fire or a hard drive crash.
5. Add up the replacement costs for all of those items to make sure you have enough insurance.
Creating a simple home inventory helps you track what you own and what it's worth. It can be invaluable in deciding how much insurance coverage you need, to say nothing of ensuring you are adequately protected if you ever need to file a claim.
You don't have to start from scratch. You can find software and checklists online. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has some suggestions.
• Download a home inventory checklist from the NAIC website.
• iPhone users — The NAIC's free myHOME Scr.APP.book downloadable app lets you quickly photograph and capture descriptions of your possessions room by room, then store electronically for safekeeping.
• Android users — With the myHOME Scr.APP.book home inventory app, you can quickly capture images, descriptions, and serial numbers of your possessions, then organize the information by room or by category. The app even creates a back-up file for email sharing.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you are ready for tornadoes in advance:
AAA’s Checklist for Tornado Preparedness:
• Keep emergency and first aid kits available, including a battery powered radio, extra batteries, food, and water.
• Prepare a disaster communications plan with your family members.
• Learn your children’s school disaster dismissal policy.
• Identify a safe shelter area in your home, away from windows. Choose the interior part of a basement, or an inside room on the lowest floor like a closet, bathroom or center hallway.
• Practice your shelter in a safe place plan with your family.
• Know where your utility switches are located and how to turn off gas, water and electricity.
Home insurance coverage for damage related to a tornado will vary from state-to-state. Damage or loss to vehicles may be covered in the comprehensive coverage portion of automobile policies.
If you have more questions about home or auto insurance protection issues in the event of tornado-related damage, check with your insurance agent. Call (800) 207-3618 to speak to an AAA Insurance representative.