Wildfires seem to be burning faster and more intense than ever. The past few years have seen the largest and most destructive conflagrations in US history.
Too many people have come back to find homes in ashes and twisted, melted remnants of prized personal possessions.
Here are five key actions to be better prepared if the next wildfire threatens your community or neighborhood:
- Create a home inventory. Sixty percent of homeowners and renters have still not documented the things they own, which can cause post-fire/disaster headaches
- Review and understand your insurance policy and what it pays and does not pay for
- Get extra protection for collectables and high-dollar possessions with a scheduled personal property endorsement (often called a floater)
- Get renters insurance if you are renting to protect your furniture and possessions
- Prepare an emergency kit with important documents (copies of banking information, insurance policies, home mortgage and deeds, etc.)
If the worst should happen:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
- Secure the property from further damage
- Contact creditors, banks and appropriate agencies about credit cards, tax returns, Social Security cards or other papers that may have been scattered in the disaster
- Check your credit report to make sure nobody is using your personal information
- Be very wary of fly-by-night work crews and contractor fraud
Be sure to download and print your copy of these Wildfire Preparation Tips here.