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Are you prepared for hurricanes, tornadoes and fires? If your home was threatened would you know what to do? This is the season and at the very least, all of us should:

  • Prepare an emergency kit
  • Have a family evacuation and communications plan
  • Stay Informed via the Internet, radio, TV or with a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full in case of evacuation
  • Stay away until law enforcement or other agencies say it’s safe to return
  • Know what your home insurance policy does and does not cover
  • Complete a home inventory

Unfortunately, no matter how prepared we all are disasters happen. It’s important that you follow these important steps to avoid identity theft or fraud if your home is damaged or destroyed:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
  • Secure the property from further damage or theft
  • Contact creditors, banks, or appropriate agencies to report important documents (social security cards, tax returns, birth certificates), credit cards or banking papers that might have been scattered or lost in the disaster
  • Check your credit report to make sure nobody is using your personal information
  • Beware of “fly-by-night” work crews and contractors
  • Be skeptical of contractors encouraging you to spend large sums on temporary repairs
  • Attain recommendations and check the Better Business Bureau before hiring any potential contractor
  • Review the contract thoroughly and get written estimates
  • Avoid dealing with contractors that request money up front
  • Never pay a home contractor in cash – only pay by credit card or personal check
  • Do not sign over your insurance settlement check
  • Don’t be pressured or fall for “one-day-only” offers
  • Be cautious if approached by housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA or the SBA
  • Keep or document receipts and other expenses if you are evacuated or forced to find another place to live because of damage to your home or apartment

 

California Casualty
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