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How to Safeguard and Protect Your Home Before/After Property Losses

Our homes are our havens. This is where we retreat after a day of work, where our families reside, where our friends gather to enjoy each other’s company, where holidays are celebrated, and where we accrue the items we require to maintain and appreciate our everyday lives. Our homes offer shelter and protection for ourselves and for those we love most. We protect our homes by maintaining them and by purchasing an insurance policy as required when we apply for our mortgages. That may not be enough, however. In this article United Public Adjusters & Appraisers who have and continue to assist, as their property damage adjuster, many hundreds of families through one of the most difficult times of their lives. After a property loss, our team provides the guidance they require to document and prepare a property damage claim or a fire damage claim. Here we offer our advice to prepare for the worst, and what to do should the unthinkable, major property damage/losses, occur.

Remember the Boy Scout pledge to ‘Be Prepared”? The first step to preparing yourself and your home is to assess your personal property coverage. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers will gladly assist you to review your homeowners property coverages. A lot may have happened in your lives since you bought your insurance policy. It is likely overdue for an upgrade. You’ve acquired possessions, including entertainment systems and computers, you’ve planted mature trees, the list goes on. We can guide you to make certain that you are covered for replacement value for those items.

And, if you do not have a safe deposit box at your local bank, here is one item you should consider buying right away: a small fireproof box or safe. Every big box home center has them. Buy yourself one and keep everything from your insurance policies to your passports, birth certificates, deeds, etc. inside. Here’s another tip: Before you store these items, take photos and make copies of passports, licenses, social security cards, baptism, marriage licenses, birth, and death certificates or naturalization papers. Email PDFs of these to yourself, and also consider storing hard copies at a secure location away from your home. As your property damage adjuster, United Public Adjusters & Appraisers stresses this point: Since your phone itself can be damaged or destroyed, be sure to save copies of your important papers on the Cloud. It takes only minutes and will provide peace of mind should a disaster strike.

Another critical task as part of your home disaster preparedness is to know the value of your possessions before you have to replace them. All these following tips will reduce post crisis stress levels and even facilitate a return to normalcy as swiftly as possible:

  • Create an inventory checklist and include it with your important papers.
  • Also, make a video walk-through of your home using your cell phone, make a SWF file and store on the Cloud as well. Narrate each room and describe each item, brand, what it is made of, size, amount, etc.
  • Keep or locate receipts for your more expensive furnishing and appliances, TVs and technology. Be sure to email these to yourself and store on the Cloud as well. Didn’t save your receipts? Check your credit card statements to locate the vendor, then go to their site and download your order history.

Remember, in this time of crisis, safeguarding life is the only real consideration. Afterwards, as you survey the damage/loss, call United Public Adjusters & Appraisers before you call your insurance carrier. We’ll promptly respond and assist you to locate temporary housing, to document the condition of your premises, as well as advise on how to substantiate losses for your property damage claim and/or fire damage claim. Especially should you experience a total loss of your home, it is imperative that you show the damages in detail.

It does not require professional equipment to make a video. Using your cell phone, videotape your entire structure. Try to keep it about a minute long or less, and be sure to narrate it so the viewer can not only see the destruction but have an idea of what had been there prior to the event. For example, “This is the living room. There were two leather armchairs and a sofa. On the wall was a 60-inch flatscreen TV.” Videos and photo records of losses help policyholders to receive higher settlement offers, as insurance carriers can get a full picture of what has been lost from well-documented claims.

If you have had your property damage adjuster assist you to perform a pre-event assessment of your insurance policies, you’ll have a better understanding of your personal property coverage and what you are entitled to, such as temporary housing while your home is restored or replaced. Take your time but get repair/replacement estimates in writing from professionals before submitting a property damage claim or fire damage claim. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers hopes you never have to contact our team for assistance in the wake of a disaster.

However, if you have any questions and require our guidance at any point in your disaster recovery, contact our team for a prompt response.


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