• 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. CYAN5DE's Avatar
      CYAN5DE -
      Man, so sorry to hear about your situation.

      Your advice is spot on, I wish I had known half this stuf about 4 years ago when i got robbed twice.

      And my house was still there, but trying to remember the contents? and prove it? Huge PIA.

      anything specialty equipment, get a policy. Guns, Camera Gear, computers or servers, get a policy. Insurance has fine print everywhere, and I lost out on about 15-18k in "firearms, and related accessories" with a 2k cap.

      Best of luck to you, anything we can do to help?
    1. Colo.TJ's Avatar
      Colo.TJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Quick Draw View Post
      20 States currently have a valued policy law. It doesn't seem like it is bankrupting the insurance companies. In fact auto insurance already works this way. Why can't you "total" a house when there isn't a damn thing left?

      You are on top of your insurance. Good for you. Something tells me you would change your mind if you lost your home.
      Your house may have a $400,000 market value while your contents of your house could be worth $25,000 or $25,000,000 depending on what contents you have.
    1. ni0h's Avatar
      ni0h -
      Quote Originally Posted by Colo.TJ View Post
      Your house may have a $400,000 market value while your contents of your house could be worth $25,000 or $25,000,000 depending on what contents you have.
      That's always seemed weird to me. They don't know - they have this ambiguous(though capped) liability and then at claim time it becomes an adversarial task - Owners trying to remember everything they had and find a way to prove it, insurance company trying to get the owner to say he's told them everything and then disputing every item. It tells me that content coverage is paid for at the level of the most it could be, and covered at the least they can get away with. Since there's a risk pool there, both of risk of loss and risk of size, the coverage is actually priced below the value of the cap, so there's this huge range of value to fight over. Above a certain value, the insurance company is actually using money, creating a space for homeowner fraud, and below that is the space where the insurance companies are coming out ahead. All the way from zero to the cap, there's reason to fight.

      So - I actually like the "valued policy" idea.
    1. Avenger's Avatar
      Avenger -
      Andy, thanks for the timely advice.

      I just glanced at my USAA policy and I have a $10K firearm reimbursement limit. Same for jewelery. Better than most I guess?

      I couldn't find any mention of power or hand tools, but the document is over 60 pages so maybe I missed it. Sent them an email.

      For those that have been through a total loss, how important was it to have receipts vs just photo/video of your possessions? TIA.
    1. Colo.TJ's Avatar
      Colo.TJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by ni0h View Post
      That's always seemed weird to me. They don't know - they have this ambiguous(though capped) liability and then at claim time it becomes an adversarial task - Owners trying to remember everything they had and find a way to prove it, insurance company trying to get the owner to say he's told them everything and then disputing every item. It tells me that content coverage is paid for at the level of the most it could be, and covered at the least they can get away with. Since there's a risk pool there, both of risk of loss and risk of size, the coverage is actually priced below the value of the cap, so there's this huge range of value to fight over. Above a certain value, the insurance company is actually using money, creating a space for homeowner fraud, and below that is the space where the insurance companies are coming out ahead. All the way from zero to the cap, there's reason to fight.

      So - I actually like the "valued policy" idea.
      Have you asked if they offer one? They just might. My agent ALWAYS reminds me to take pictures and video when we meet.
    1. BumperMan's Avatar
      BumperMan -
      Anything you need just shout.
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      Thank you Bud. You need firewood?

      I don't think I'll be replacing my Stihl 311 now that we have not one f'n tree left to maintain.

      Andy
    1. BumperMan's Avatar
      BumperMan -
      When it comes time to take them down let me know. Im sure I can find a home for the wood.

      Look at it this way. You can replant them where you want them and they'll grow nice and straight.

      Okay poor attempt at a silver lining but its the best I have. I took a bike ride out there today. The devastation was amazing. Made me sick at my stomach.
    1. ASCTLC's Avatar
      ASCTLC -
      Did you recall where we lived and try to recognize the difference from then to now?
    1. jeepinwelch's Avatar
      jeepinwelch -
      Went south of the ridge for the first time today. I cried going past your place. And every other place on the way. I am so sorry.
    1. BumperMan's Avatar
      BumperMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
      Did you recall where we lived and try to recognize the difference from then to now?
      I couldn't recall where you guys lived. I was barely able to find my friends house that I've been to a million times. Landmarks were non existent.
    1. CYAN5DE's Avatar
      CYAN5DE -
      Andy,

      We have never met, but if you need any help clearing property or running a saw, PM me or let Budman know and I would be glad to help.

      ~Erik

      Quote Originally Posted by Avenger View Post
      I just glanced at my USAA policy and I have a $10K firearm reimbursement limit. Same for jewelery. Better than most I guess?
      I guess you have a better policy than I did, or it is a difference between renter's insurance and homeowners?

      When I had my issue with the 2k limit, it was USAA.