Don’t Let a Fire Take Everything! Make Sure Your Insurance is Current

Phoenix AZ Home FireIt’s a sign of the times. A recent news report from Arizona’s abc15.com tells the heartbreaking story of a young woman trying to save money.

A young woman was in the process of foreclosing on her condo. She was packed and ready to move. She had cancelled her homeowner’s insurance policy just before a fire burned down her condo and caused damage to two other units.

As a state with a history of hot, dry weather and raging fires, many residents know how easy it would be for their property to go up in flames. That’s why it is important to take every precaution possible to protect your home by having the right insurance policy.

Take Proactive Steps Before a Fire

Don’t take chances. Don’t think it will never happen to you. Take the right steps before anything goes wrong.

Here are steps to consider to help prevent house fires, according to the National Institute of Fire and Safety Training:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended.
  • Never cook when you are drowsy.
  • Keep combustibles at least three feet away from heat sources.
  • Never smoke when lying down.
  • Test your smoke detectors on a monthly basis.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Develop an escape plan and practice it every six months.
  • Equip your home with the necessary safety equipment, such as smoke detectors, escape ladders, and fire extinguishers.
  • Sleep with your bedroom doors closed.
  • If a smoke detector goes off during the night, feel the bedroom door with the back of your hand before opening it. If it is hot, do not open it.
  • Make sure that you are able to contact the fire department from any room in your house—in case you are trapped.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every six months.
  • Be careful not to overload electrical outlets.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not being used.
  • Schedule an annual home-fire safety inspection.

Additionally, for insurance purposes, be sure to document your belongings with photos or videos and keep a list of your possessions. Remember to:

  • Make a list your belongings and valuables.
  • Take photos of every room.
  • Keep a copy of documents off-site.

Preparing in advance will help get your insurance claim settled faster.

What to Do After a Fire in Your Home

Dealing with the aftermath of a home fire is very emotional. However, here are some fire damage experts to help get you back on your feet quickly:

  • After a fire, don’t enter the house without an okay from the fire department. First, you want to make sure the blaze is out. Second, you need to ensure the structure is sound.
  • Call your insurance carrier right away in order to start the reimbursement process. Additionally, your insurance agent can assist with other needs such as emergency lodging, hiring a cleanup crew, and the steps you need to take to rebuild.
  • Homeowners insurance typically covers you in case of fire, except when they prove arson. If you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll have documentation to support your loss.
  • Speaking of documentation, be prepared to provide the insurance company with copies of your inventory list and photos or videos of your possessions.
  • Obtain a fire report from the fire department.
  • If you home isn’t completely burned, secure any personal items to prevent looting. Otherwise, your insurance company may hold you liable for its replacement.

Dealing with a home fire is devastating. What is even worse is not having the right insurance coverage if this happens. Make sure your policy is up to date today by calling your insurance agent!

5 Things You Should Do to Protect Your Home, Even If You Have Home Insurance

Insurance is great! It gives people the chance to prepare for some of the less thrilling experiences in life. We know that if tragedy should strike we won’t be forking over thousands of dollars… the insurance company will.

But, no matter how great your home insurance policy is, it doesn’t work as a preventative measure. And wouldn’t you rather prevent bad experiences from happening than have them paid for once they do?

Here are 3 stories we heard recently that demonstrate the importance of adding more security than just insurance to your home:

-After working all day, a couple came home to find that everything in their home was stolen. Electronics, furniture, appliances, even clothes had been taken. The thieves had pulled up a moving van during the day, broke in through a back door, and moved everything out of the house without a single neighbor growing suspicious.

-Three college girls living in a rented house woke to find their iPods (which had been sitting beside their beds as they slept) and a few other electronics had been taken from their home. The sliding back door had been easily lifted off the hinges to let the thief in.

-Four bikes were stolen from the front yard of a young family only minutes after the kids they belonged to rode them home.

So, besides having a hefty duty insurance policy (that should cover the cost of the stolen items) how can you protect your home?

1- Consider adding a security system. It may cost you slightly more each month, but its well worth the added protection. You may find the premium for your home insurance drops a few dollars every month if you have one in place.

2- Update older homes with better doors and window locks.

3- Keep all possessions in the garage or back yard – even during the day.

4- Keep your doors and windows locked – even when you’re home.

5- Try to be discreet about your possessions. When door-to-door salesmen come by, don’t open your door wide for them to see inside. Don’t leave expensive items like wave runners and motorcycles out front… park them in your garage. Don’t give a thief a reason to believe your home would be worth breaking into.

For those of us who are a few years older or have lived in rural areas, we miss the days of wide open houses and keeping keys under the mat. But times have changed. And now, a home insurance policy is a necessity, but it’s not enough.

Be smart and do things that keep your home more fully protected.

If you’ve heard of any other great ways to protect your home (or you’ve heard stories about victims of home thefts), tell us about them by leaving a comment below.