When trouble knocks on your door, it’s good to be armed with a plan. Proper planning can help you proactively clear hurdles and reduce the stress induced by a natural disaster or other unforeseen calamity. While we hope you never have to use it, a personal disaster plan could provide enormous relief when tensions tend to run high. Just follow these four simple steps:
A complete inventory of your possessions will fast track the insurance claim making process. Your inventory can consist of a physical list stored outside your residence, or pictures or videos uploaded to a secure digital location. You can also use free online software to create and store your home inventory by going to Know Your Stuff. Regardless of the method used, the more details and specifics included in your list (makes, models, serial numbers), the better. It’s possible there may not be any physical evidence left to jog your memory.
Important documents, such as Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Birth Certificates, Insurance Policies etc. should be stored outside of your home for easy retrieval if your house is destroyed. As our society becomes increasingly digitally dependent, many have moved away from using a safety deposit box in favor of “cloud storage.” Cloud storage refers to digital data in virtualized pools of storage hosted by third parties. If your financial adviser does not provide secure digital cloud storage space, you could put your inventory on a USB drive or backup your computer online with a virtual cloud data backup program.
You will have to contact a variety of organizations post-disaster. Minimize frustration and save valuable time by keeping critical numbers handy, including phone numbers of family and friends, as well as:
As with all other critical data, these numbers must be kept in a remote but accessible location, on your mobile phone, or in secured cloud storage.
Protect yourself from heartache by creating digital replicas of cherished photos. Also, keep in mind that items of sentimental value may be “replaced.” For example, if you can identify the colors and yarn used, you may be able to replicate a quilt to pass on to your grandchildren just like the one your grandmother gave you. The key is to document the fine details while you can still touch, feel, see and smell the item.
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