• Disaster preparation advice #1

    To all you who take my horrible experience to heart: Film your homes contents once a year or so and get that/those tapes and thumb drives off site.

    We were prepared for an evacuation/disaster and had that 28' 5th wheel as our backup home. I'm a receipt hoarder and even had a thumb drive backup of my thumb drive backup. Yeah, a lot of good that did me. When you aren't home to act on those preparations.......

    We filmed our complete house years ago and stored the tapes in a safe deposit box at the bank. That was in another location (state) though and never did do it here. Tammy suggested we consider doing this again JUST LAST MONTH! Nope, too busy finishing up the bath remodel.

    Let me tell you from my position sitting in this hotel room worried about my wife's sense of well being, our future, and having to generate a complete inventory of our house by memory: it sucks - plain and simple. Insurance is going to do everything they can to save a buck and my job as husband and head of house is to recover all we're owed so I can get Tammy and me back to some semblance of a satisfactory life. They're well experienced, I'm severely disadvantaged.

    I had warning but unable to get there to act, yours may be instantaneous while at work and there's no way you're getting home in time after a house fire gets reported. Plans only work when you're there to implement them, and I seriously doubt there are very many here who aren't away from the house once in a while.

    My advice for what would relieve a significant sense of stress right now? Get a video camera and film everything. You don't need to spell everything out, just rifle through each and every drawer, through the closets, under the sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen, through the pantry, in the garage, in each tool box drawer, in your glove box, in the hall closet and your coat closet, every wall from across the room, in the shed, etc, etc, etc.... A fast shuffle may not seem adequate but when you have a video you can keep pausing it and there'll be enough there to jog your memory, trust me when I say that video will be $$$$ when it comes to listing all for insurance. If you have a specific item that resembles any other model, look at the back and state it . Like the Sony Bravia model we had - it looks like any other Sony but you sure as hell ain't gonna settle for a model costing half that - after all they all look the same in pictures. I'm telling you, you got a 4 hour job at most to do this.

    Insurance: Get with your agent now! Do you have Replacement or Cash Value policy?? Pay the premium and get replacement so you don't have to sit there and argue why an 8 year old Gold Ring Leopold Spotting scope hasn't lost 75% value just by age (prediction, they haven't even f'n met with us yet!).

    Guns?? If you have more than a simple handful, get that policy and read it!! Yeah, it's not just "an item in your house", they probably limit it like they did mine at a whopping $3k. Don't be a dumbass, learn from one who already broke that ground for you - read it and up your coverage if necessary.

    Look at other specified items too like jewelry (we didn't have squat for jewelry - no beneficial value in it to us), but it points out that they classify some items out from everything else. Read your policy and know what needs extra attention.

    Digger, you get back home and I'm sure hoping you do, heed my words and get your butt covered.

    All you others who live the city life, you aren't immune. Your house can burn just like the rest of ours...

    Andy
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Heed my advice... started by ASCTLC View original post
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. DaleD's Avatar
      DaleD -
      Very good advice and also I am very sorry to hear what has happened to you and yours.
    1. Tricky69's Avatar
      Tricky69 -
      thanks for the good advice,got me thinkin......hope everything works out for you and your family
    1. Da Kine's Avatar
      Da Kine -
      Another option to keeping it on a thumb drive is to subscribe to one of those cloud based storage sites and upload your videos there. Most will give you a few GB's for free. If the only thing you are posting there is this video, it should be plenty.
      Like Andy said, any video that shows what you have is great, but the more detail you can add the better. I would start with a quick one that has a brief description and then make another with more details such as model numbers and serial numbers. One thing that a lot of people forget to list are pictures, so be sure to show those too.
    1. Grant H.'s Avatar
      Grant H. -
      Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
      Guns?? If you have more than a simple handful, get that policy and read it!! Yeah, it's not just "an item in your house", they probably limit it like they did mine at a whopping $3k. Don't be a dumbass, learn from one who already broke that ground for you - read it and up your coverage if necessary.
      This is important, as I know quite a few people on here have decent sized numbers of firearms. It doesn't take much to get to the $3k mark that Andy alluded too.

      Unless you specifically work with your agent and up the dollar amount, you are covered up to $3k, and beyond that the insurance company will say "Sucks to be you".

      Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
      All you others who live the city life, you aren't immune. Your house can burn just like the rest of ours...

      Andy
      Truth.

      Houses can burn down anywhere, any time.
    1. Quick Draw's Avatar
      Quick Draw -
      The list is not easy to do by memory. We did not have a video. We went around and snapped a couple of pictures in the final seconds before leaving our home for the last time. The good news is that by law (thanks to the lobbying of my next door neighbor), you have 180 days to submit that list.

      My neighbor also pushed for a "valued policy law" this year which would have done away with lists. Basically if the house is a total loss, you are cut a check for the sum total of your insured value. You don't have to do anything other than prove your home is a total loss. He did this not for the victims of the High Park Fire...it was too late for us... but for people of future fires such as yourself. He was inspired to do this after his adjuster visited his property and demanded the list from memory on the spot, only days after it burned down. Unfortunately the valued policy part of the law didn't happen and this was the result of his efforts:

      http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cli...le=1225_01.pdf
    1. Quick Draw's Avatar
      Quick Draw -
      Also, I had a $3,000 limit on auto parts. My shed full of spare parts was way more valuable than that!
    1. ni0h's Avatar
      ni0h -
      Quote Originally Posted by Da Kine View Post
      Another option in addition to keeping it on a thumb drive is to subscribe to two of those cloud based storage sites and upload your videos there. Most will give you a few GB's for free. If the only thing you are posting there is this video, it should be plenty.
      I fixed a couple typos. google drive is 5GB, skydrive is 7. I figure google and/or microsoft is probably going to be around for a while, and surely at least one will be in the news on its way down long enough to find other accomodations.
    1. Mcstiff's Avatar
      Mcstiff -
      What is the limit for youtube? Private video, of course.
    1. ni0h's Avatar
      ni0h -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mcstiff View Post
      What is the limit for youtube? Private video, of course.
      hours, but the resolution's limited and compression is not optional.
    1. Da Kine's Avatar
      Da Kine -
      Quote Originally Posted by ni0h View Post
      I fixed a couple typos. google drive is 5GB, skydrive is 7. I figure google and/or microsoft is probably going to be around for a while, and surely at least one will be in the news on its way down long enough to find other accomodations.
      Grammar Nazi!!!
    1. 74BuckinBronc's Avatar
      74BuckinBronc -
      I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know it has to be horrible. I am thankful that you made it out with your lives, which is most important. I think it's time for me to update my inventory...
    1. UnlimitedFun's Avatar
      UnlimitedFun -
      Andy

      Unfortunately too many people are in your position right now. One of the things Stephanie hears about most at the DAC is that the proof would make working with the insurance companies easier. Not defending the companies, but she has seen a lot of attempted "fraud" from people who are just trying to get anything they can. The situation is not quite as bad with the fraud as it was last year with Waldo Canyon, however there are some who will try to take advantage of any situation that presents itself. It only takes one wrong person to make it bad for everyone else.

      I hope you can determine what property you had to at least a reasonable level of accuracy. I know you had posted several times about your remodeling, any pics available on here that might show anything?

      Joel
    1. zillacon's Avatar
      zillacon -
      Sorry for your loss. My Coworker lost his mountain home a few years ago. He is a tough old Vet and doesnt take any shit. He told his wife he would handle the Insurance company and like you he had documentation of eveything in the house. After hearing him on the phone in our office sometimes several times a day for over a year as they rebuilt he said he has never been so beat down in his life. The Insurance companies is in the business to make money and not lose it so they fight you hands and teeth on every single item you have and depreciation etc. After all was said and done he had to pull out some reitrement money just to be able to have the basic things they had before. After seeing what he went thru I hope to never have to do it myself.
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnlimitedFun View Post
      Andy

      Unfortunately too many people are in your position right now. One of the things Stephanie hears about most at the DAC is that the proof would make working with the insurance companies easier. Not defending the companies, but she has seen a lot of attempted "fraud" from people who are just trying to get anything they can. The situation is not quite as bad with the fraud as it was last year with Waldo Canyon, however there are some who will try to take advantage of any situation that presents itself. It only takes one wrong person to make it bad for everyone else.

      I hope you can determine what property you had to at least a reasonable level of accuracy. I know you had posted several times about your remodeling, any pics available on here that might show anything?

      Joel
      I hear you Joel. As previously mentioned in another thread topic, Tammy and I don't have the lying thing down and glad of it.\\I did just remember last night that I had posted a picture of our garage to this site!! It wasn't much but it is far better than just memory. I gotta go find that post.

      Andy
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      Quote Originally Posted by zillacon View Post
      Sorry for your loss. My Coworker lost his mountain home a few years ago. He is a tough old Vet and doesnt take any shit. He told his wife he would handle the Insurance company and like you he had documentation of eveything in the house. After hearing him on the phone in our office sometimes several times a day for over a year as they rebuilt he said he has never been so beat down in his life. The Insurance companies is in the business to make money and not lose it so they fight you hands and teeth on every single item you have and depreciation etc. After all was said and done he had to pull out some reitrement money just to be able to have the basic things they had before. After seeing what he went thru I hope to never have to do it myself.
      When you're in our position, you start out beat down.

      I'll see where we are with insurance, if we can ever get a meeting with them, and see what game they'll be playing.

      Andy
    1. Quick Draw's Avatar
      Quick Draw -
      Did you get back to see the property yet?

      When you do you get to play my favorite game. It's called: "What the hell did this used to be?"

      Although anything made of steel that you're forgetting on the list.... it could help.
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      Haven't seen yet but expecting to get access today or tomorrow. We've heard from 2 people already that said they thought it'd be a lot tougher to see it than it was. Said they actually were calm and got a bit of closure even this early.

      Also hearing from people that you'd be surprised at what you find survives the prolonged heat. Ins only covers $200 in cash. Had $1800 stashed for emergency but for this we knew what risk we were taking should we have a fire and lose it.

      Heard the axles may actually be good. Seals will obviously be gone but the ARB can be rebuilt and the axles themselves (Dynatrac front and rear) may be alright. We also have the ARBs f&r in Tammy Cherokee. Then there are the numerous skid plates on both Jeeps.

      Andy
    1. 74BuckinBronc's Avatar
      74BuckinBronc -
      We bought a fire-proof lock box for our important papers. Usually don't keep money in there, but maybe I should start. The trick is to at least lock it so if it falls thru a floor or gets knocked over, it remains shut.
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      We had 2 of them bronc. locked for the reason you state. But they are reported to hold up in minor fires where the house gets put out, not burn and simmer for a week or two. Same for the average gun safe regardless the "marketing hype".

      Cash was not in them to be conveniently carried off by a burglar. Cash was hidden. A country home is ripe for break in safe from nosy neighbors so there were ways we employed to make them stay there as long as possible (increased change to be caught/seen) while getting very little.

      Andy
    1. 74BuckinBronc's Avatar
      74BuckinBronc -
      I hope they held up better than you expect. I hope you find way more salvageable stuff as well. What a horrible situation to endure!