As an insurance agent in Arizona, I get several calls a week from clients asking pretty much the same question. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love talking to my clients and helping them with their questions. For whatever reason, today I had the case of the giggles (probably too much caffeine) so I created this funny picture of what NOT to do when you find yourself in an accident. Feel free to share.
Hello homeowners, we are homeowners insurance with offices located in Mesa, Gilbert, Tucson and Phoenix. We want to pass along some advice for you regarding your homes and homeowners insurance that you should be looking at today! Start with your TTD – THINGS TO DO list.
With all the devastation in our surrounding states from forest fires, we’d like to bring you some advice.
Before the fire or disaster strikes, do this, like, right NOW:
A) Plan ahead. If family members are away from home, arrange ahead of time a DCP – designated convenient place to meet away from your home or the possible disaster in your area. Pick a gas station, convenience store, grocery store, maybe a mall, or a school, somewhere YOU all know EXACTLY where to go to meet up, this is your DCP and #2 on your TTD list. Keep in mind, family members must be prepared for this as well, regardless of where you are, you may not be able to get back to your home, you may have to depend on a son or daughter who is at home to do this, so run down the list of TTD with them beforehand, walk thru it once or twice a year. Update it as you need to.
B) Plan ahead. Tell ALL family members where you will be planning to go, pick a motel or hotel 20 miles away, write down their phone number on your TTD list, plan on calling them for a reservation when the evacuation order comes. MAKE it number 3 on your TTD. Next, pick an alternate motel or hotel that is 30 miles away, write down that phone number on your TTD list, if you cannot get a reservation at No. 3, this is your number 4 – TTD, your contingency plan, communicate this with ALL family members! Put this TTD LIST of Things To Do and let your entire family know where it is, or better yet, give a copy to your neighbors and your closest family members.
C) Have you got a pet (or pets)? Make sure you have a weeks supply of food for each pet set aside. Put this food and where it’s stored on your list of TTD as #5.
D) As you make your TTD List, keep in mind how much space your vehicle has, will it (whatever IT is that you are wanting to take with you) fit with everything else on the list? Keep this in mind when you organize your TTD. Be prepared to leave sentimental objects behind, you will NOT have time to dwell on it later.
E) INVENTORY – Take a pad of paper and walk through your home and write down everything you have, include taking picture,s which are also helpful. Download your pictures to a flash drive for convenience, but either have a flash drive OR get actual pictures and assemble them all together (pictures should include all room furniture, unique items, grandfather clocks, fine art, jewelry, electronics, heirloom items, irreplaceable items, and collectibles). Put this inventory paper in a safe place, ready to go. Include this INVENTORY on your TTD list.
F) BUNDLE – collect the most important papers and keep them in a safe and secure location that you can easily open, grab the bundle, and go. This should include: your family’s birth certificates, social security cards, passports, insurance papers, car titles, and all photos taken of your home possessions and valuables, either the actual prints OR the flash drive that has the pictures. Include this BUNDLE of paperwork on your TTD list.
G) Make a list of irreplaceable family pictures that you do not want to lose, this should be a picture checklist, and when you are told to evacuate, grab this checklist and gather up ONLY what you have written down beforehand, you will NOT have time to get sidetracked once the evacuation order comes! Include this on your TTD list.
When ordered to evacuate, keep your time in mind, hurry, but be organized (be aware, it’s possible you may NOT have 30 minutes, maybe 10 or or even less!):
A) TTD #1 – Get your family and pets in the car.
B) TTD #2 – Contact immediate family members and tell them to muster at the pre-designated meeting place, you are evacuating. KISS – keep it short and simple. This is your No.2 TTD item. Do NOT plan on having family or friends come to your home once the evacuation order is placed, all roads lead OUT and to safety.
C) Proceed with your TTD list of THINGS TO DO.
D) Focus on driving safely. Get to your motel/hotel safely.
E) RECEIPTS – Typically your homeowners insurance policy will cover reasonable expenses for room and meals. Save your receipts if you are told to evacuate your home by emergency personnel. Most policies cover this but have daily limits.
F) Once you have reached your safe hotel/motel, THEN contact family & friends and inform them of same.
If you need help accessing your homeowners policy for disasters and the like, we’re here. Contact your insurance agent before you actually need us. Our advice is free. Bring your inventory list with you.
The defining mark of a catastrophe is that it is unexpected. If we knew something dreadful was about to occur, we would probably take the time to get things in order, collect our most precious belongings, and do anything in our power to try and prevent the catastrophe from ever happening.
Unfortunately, that’s just not how the world works and catastrophes occur before we know it. Then we’re left to pick things up the best that we can.
In Arizona, a catastrophe to your home might occur when the wind changes direction and a wildfire moves in the direction of where you live. Or, maybe you forget to turn off your main water valve before you leave town and a burst pipe floods your home. A catastrophe could happen when a strong storm knocks an electrical wire down on your roof.
So, how do you begin to pick up the pieces if something catastrophic does happen to your home. Where do you even start?
According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, “Most homeowners have an ally they may not think of in a major home repair crisis.” That ally is none other than your insurance agent.
In the article, Tim Jankovsky, a Tuscon Insurance agent, states that “Homeowners insurance carriers in Arizona frequently maintain a list of approved vendors.” These vendors might include specific trade experts, like roofers or plumbers, restoration experts, or emergency cleanup crews.
So, if a catastrophe occurs, call your insurance agent as soon as possible to get a list of their approved vendors. “Using that service… may not only speed up getting help to your house, but could save you money on work the insurance company doesn’t cover.”
Your insurance agents might not be able to help you predict or prevent a catastrophe from happening, but they will be there to help you pick up the pieces.