September is National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared? Wildfire season proves the importance for all Oregonians to be ready for disaster. Last year wildfires in Oregon burned more than 846,000 acres causing about 4,000 Oregonians to evacuate their homes. The 2019 wildfire season is far from over so it’s still a good time to get prepared.
September 1-7 is Home Inventory Week. It’s a good time to consider doing that home inventory (perhaps as you’ve always meant to do), to take stock of your belongings or revisit it for an update. In fact the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation [DFR] is asking insurance professionals to put the word out to help Oregonians get prepared. In an August 27, 2019 email to insurance professionals, DFR said, “Wildfire season proves the importance for all Oregonians to be ready for disaster. Building a home inventory and checking your home insurance coverage are two of the most important aspects of a disaster readiness plan.”
Regarding Home Inventories…if you experienced a loss tonight, would you be able to compile a list of everything involved? To test your recall, make a list of everything in your living room then check if you accounted for it all. We accumulate so much that we sometimes lose track. A great idea is to keep all your receipts for household items and clothing in a folder so you can review your home inventory annually. The above link has a video on creating a home inventory too.
Never done a home inventory? Here are some ideas and tips to get started:
· Start now, even if your information is incomplete. You could begin with new purchases then add older items later.
· Group your belongings into categories that make sense to you; it could be room by room, by person, by hobby or activity.
· Make it a family activity, getting each member involved with their own things.
· There are numerous home inventory apps for your phone available. Some are free, some cost.
· You can also go old school and manually write down all your information in a binder. Include the item, manufacturer, mode, serial number, date purchased
and purchase price. If possible, include a picture of each item.
· Be as specific as possible, the more detail the better.
· Make sure to keep detailed records of antiques, jewelry, major appliances and collector’s items.
· Remember the seasonal items and the ones you rarely use (like holiday decorations, tools, sports
· Keep your yearly folder of receipts or bill of sales to keep your lists up to date.
Once your list is done, you want to keep it in a safe place. Some safe place ideas are:
· Your phone or tablet Cloud storage
· A computer that backs up to the Cloud
· E-mail archives so you can access them wherever you can log onto a computer
· A thumb drive or other external hard drive
· Printed copies in a fire-proof safe, or even better, a safety deposit box at your bank
The big idea is to have a list of all your stuff secured in a safe place so you can protect your family’s finances by protecting your assets. Once you’ve added up the cost of your things, you’ll want to review your coverage. Does your homeowners or renters policy have enough coverage? You may have started it when you were younger and had fewer belongings. Once you’ve completed your inventory it’s a perfect time to review your home insurance coverage with your insurance agent. Contact us for more information on home insurance and renter's insurance coverage.
A final note, homeowners insurance typically helps cover damage to your home and belongings resulting from a wildfire. Renters insurance policies are for your belongings. Standard policies in both cases generally help protect against specific perils, including fire, but your coverage may vary by geographic location, carrier and by policy. This is another good reason to review your coverage with your insurance agent. Have questions about your coverage? Contact Solo Insurance for help reviewing your policy.
Home Inventory Week and National Preparedness Month are about getting prepared in the most unfortunate event disaster strikes.
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