Archive for October, 2007

FIRES & OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS & NURTURING THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Around the world natural disasters have wreaked havoc in the lives of people at all socio-economic levels.

It must be very difficult to lose everything one owns and then have to live in unfamiliar emergency shelters with hundreds of strangers. For most of us our homes are places to relax, to be ourselves, have privacy above all else, and a comfort zone where everything is familiar and in it’s place. Floods, fire, hurricanes and earthquakes can end all that security in a very short time.

Newspaper reports indicate that many people are under insured. The California Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner believes that a quarter of the homes destroyed in the recent fires in Southern California are under insured. Evidence is pointing to the fact that although the cause of this fire was arson, the strong Santa Ana Winds fanned the fire, making it very hard to be contained.  When one has to face a major loss , it is another blow to learn that a policy cannot be found, was not updated to reflect new purchases or additions to the home.

While we may not be able to prevent natural disasters, insurance companies point our there are several things that can be done to be prepared and retain a measure of peace of mind. These include detailed records of all your possessions. Everyone should use their digital cameras or videos to photograph the things they own. These include furniture, jewelry, exercise equipment, and entertainment centers amongst other possessions.

When disaster strikes it can be so overwhelming that we may be disoriented and unable to recall or describe clearly everything that we possessed. On the website listed below you can download and print a copy of an inventory that you may be able to use as a guide for a record of all the possessions in your home.

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0100-consumers/0060-information-

guides/0040-residential/upload/Home-Inventory-Guide.pdf

It is also suggested that you keep updated versions of this inventory in other locations such as a safety deposit box, with a reliable friend or at work.

It is also a good idea to keep all important documents such as passports, birth certificates, credit cards, checks, homeownership records and family photographs in a place where they can be quickly gathered to take with you.

I am not too familiar with the use of fireproof safes. If anyone can comment on these it will be appreciated. Any other suggestions of disaster preparedness will be welcome.