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Five "Freebie" Fixes For Disaster Preparedness
Published  01/9/2012 | 2012

Bracing for Disaster Can Be Effective Without the Cost

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Disaster preparation doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, homeowners have many ways to protect their property that won’t even cost them a dime.
   
California’s prolonged dry winter has prompted the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to increase staffing, and the Insurance Information Network of California urges homeowners to prepare for what could be a dangerous fire season.
   
“In today’s economy, everyone has to make some tough cuts,” said IINC Executive Director Candysse Miller.  “But you don’t have to spend a fortune – or in some cases, anything – to help guard your household against loss.”
   
To prepare for the coming fire season, IINC recommends the following five “freebie” fixes for preparing your family and your home in the event of a disaster:
  1. Create a home inventory. A home inventory requires identifying and accounting for items in your insurance policy. To assist with this process, download free home inventory software to your computer or a free app to your smartphone. For the less technically savvy, pencil and paper versions are also available for no charge.
  2. Organize financial documents. Put all financial documents in a “grab-n-go” box so it is readily available in the event of an evacuation. If possible, keep copies in a safe deposit box or with a family member living elsewhere.
  3. Create an insurer emergency contact list. Having insurance policy information accessible in the early days of a disaster can smooth the claims process. Entering insurance contacts and policy information into your smartphone or creating a wallet-size hard copy using IINC’s Insurance 411 guarantees that you will have the information at your fingertips.
  4. Plan and practice evacuation. Identify who is responsible for getting various items including financial documents, clothes, prescription drugs and irreplaceable valuables. Practice your plan periodically and revise it to account for changes.
  5. Evaluate and update your homeowner insurance policy. Though changes in a policy may have costs associated with it, it costs nothing to sit down with your insurer and review the details of your policy.

IINC is a non-profit and non-lobbying trade association dedicated to helping the public understand insurance and manage risk. For more information, please visit www.iinc.org. IINC is also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/iinc and on Facebook at facebook.com/iinc.org.

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