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Take Stock of What You Own – How a Home Inventory Can Help You

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

In the event of an emergency like indoor water damage, fire, severe weather or earthquake, would you be able to quickly account for damage and losses to personal possessions? If not, maybe it’s time to put together a home inventory to take stock of those belongings. It’s basic to know the value of your home’s structure and to have insurance coverage appropriate to that amount. However, what about all the valuable stuff inside the house? Here are three ways a home inventory can help you before and after an emergency strikes.  

Make sure you’re covered in advance.  To receive proper compensation if possessions are damaged or lost, you need to be prepared beforehand with the appropriate type and amount of insurance. In order to work with your insurer and accurately determine the type and accurate value of belongings inside your home before a potential loss, put together an orderly account of what’s what and/or look into apps designed specifically to organize home inventories.  Information gathering at this point should include:

  • A master list of all valuables.
  • Serial numbers or any other unique identification.
  • Date of purchase.
  • Purchase price of each item.
  • Photograph or video of valuable items and supporting information such as receipts.

Expedite filing claims and replacement. In the stressful period after a natural disaster, fire or other damaging event, it’s going to be difficult to recall and accurately quantify all your losses—and the appropriate value of each—strictly from memory for insurance purposes. Claims must be filed in a timely, organized manner. To ensure full, prompt compensation, you need to be prepared to present all necessary information including associated documentation in an orderly, accessible way.

Document losses for tax purposes. In order to claim certain losses on your tax return, you’ll need to provide very specific information about high-value items and at least a credible general estimate of less expensive losses. Home inventories, particularly those generated by dedicated apps or other software, are helpful to meet tax requirements and deduct losses from your income tax.

6 Types of Crucial Documents to Store Safely In Case of Emergency

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

important documents for storageAmong the most important items people want to protect from a disaster like fire, flood, hurricane or other extreme weather are vital personal/family documents. There’s a very good reason – in the wake of a genuine disaster, you’ll probably be needing at least some of them, ASAP. Unfortunately, paper documents are among the items most vulnerable to water damage, fire and other destruction during catastrophes.

Experts tell us that one extra copy of vital documents should be stored outside of your home in a secure location like a bank safety deposit box. Another alternative is to scan all important papers to a flash drive or DVD, then send it to a trusted relative residing in a different locale for safe keeping. Remember to update stored copies if/when any changes are made.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests making copies and arranging safe off-site storage for the following important documents

Vital Personal Records
These include photocopies of personal identification such as drivers licenses, birth certificates, and Military I.D. cards, if applicable. Social Security cards, passports and marriage licenses should also be copied.

Insurance Policies
Keep copies of your homeowners insurance and flood insurance policy. Also include health and life insurance coverage information as well as contact information for your local agent.

Financial Information
Record relevant account numbers for all financial matters. Include bank contact information as well as investment firms such as brokerages, retirement accounts and credit card companies.

Property Records
Copy the deed to your home or the mortgage documents provided by the title company. These should state the value of the house at the time of purchase. If you are a renter, retain a copy of the lease or rental agreement. Also duplicate all automobile, boat and RV titles and registration papers.

Medical Information
Make copies of all ongoing prescriptions plus records of immunizations, health insurance I.D. cards, and names and contact information for primary physicians. If you have a living will, include that as well.

Estate Documents
Include a copy of your will, instructions for funeral, documents for power-of-attorney designation and contact information for your personal attorney.

How To Keep Documents Safe From Water Damage

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

water-damaged documentsBecause water damage is one of the most common homeowner’s insurance claims in the United States, how to keep documents safe from water damage is a well-founded concern. In addition to destruction caused by water itself, wet paper inevitably spawns destructive mold growth, as well. The fact that certain documents may frequently be considered irreplaceable adds additional urgency to this topic. While techniques for salvaging and restoring wet documents, books and photos have advanced in recent years, effective prevention is still far and above the preferred course of action. Here are some recommendations from professional archivists to keep documents safe from water damage:

  • Don’t store important documents or photos in close proximity to water supply pipes, drain pipes or heating/steam pipes. Documents should never be placed directly above or below these components.
  • Avoid using top shelves for document storage, which exposes them to greater risk in the event of roof leakage. If you store important papers on bottom shelves, make sure the shelf is at least six inches off the floor to make contact with water less likely in the event of indoor flooding from a pipe rupture.
  • Purchase quality storage boxes and containers, purpose-built for storing documents and other paper records.
  • Monitor humidity inside rooms where important documents are stored. High humidity may migrate from areas such as a chronically damp basement or flooded crawl space into living and storage spaces, causing secondary damage to paper products.
  • If you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider turning off the main water shutoff valve to the house. This prevents major water damage from a ruptured pipe occurring in your absence.
  • If you have a choice, store valuable documents in a room with a pitched roof which sheds water and is less likely to leak than a flat roof.
  • In rooms where important documents are stored, install flood alarms at floor level to alert you to the presence of water.

For more about how to keep documents safe from water damage as well as professional techniques to salvage wet documents and records, contact Rytech, Inc.

Best Practices for Protecting Important Documents From Natural Disaster and Water Damage

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Protecting Important Documents From Natural Disaster and Water DamageProtecting documents from water damage must be one of the first priorities after water inundation in a home or business. Few items are more vulnerable to permanent damage from water than important records or other written material on paper. (more…)