With wildfireseason looming in southern California, andan insurance company making news for failingto honor damage claims that resulted from a California fire, now might be the time toreview what would happen to your home in the event of a fire.
According to California’sInsurance Commissioner, homeowners should prepare themselves today for whatmight happen if a fire occurred, which includes both reviewing your insurancecoverage and conducting a home inventory of belongings.
When you are initially purchasing homeowner’s insurance,describe your home in detail and ask your agent what will happen in the eventof a fire. Does the policy cover smoke and water damage? Do an assessment ofhow much insurance is needed to cover both the structure and its contents. Whatcontents are covered? What contents aren’t covered? You may be surprised todiscover that fire insurance sometimes doesn’t cover home business officeequipment, professional equipment and tools, or some valuable paperwork. If youneed extra insurance but can’t afford the premiums, it may be worth raisingyour deductible to get the coverage you need.
To do an inventory, the Commissioner recommends using a HomeInventory Guide (available here)and a digital camera to catalogue your possessions. He recommends labelingphotos and, if using a video camera, narrating the video. I recommend a video camera and then save the videotape in two locations, one of which is outside of the home. The inventory,pictures, and supporting documentation should be stored in a safe place.