THANKSGIVING WEEK 2014 and already we have had more snow in parts of the United States than might happen in a whole YEAR!
Photo credit: K Hartman
Who would have guessed that in the middle of NOVEMBER a lake effect snow disaster would have occurred in Buffalo, New York paralyzing many portions of the city for days?! Not me nor the dozens of native “Buffalonians” who were interviewed this past week.
And, who have believed that a half dozen feet or more of snow would be melting faster than it should resulting in FLOODS just in time for families to celebrate Thanksgiving! (Bring a pie and wet/dry vacuum?)
As if that was not enough … we don’t want to forget the scores of tornadoes that happened this past month or how the unexpected deep freeze caused many homes to have gone “up in flames” due to fires that started because of faulty chimneys or kerosene heaters.
The list of the disasters that happened within the past few weeks here in the United States can go on and on. It is a keen reminder that one day you may have your home or business and the next it could be gone. ALL GONE!
Bring in Sean Scott, author of the Red Guide to Recovery. Although Sean may not be able to help repair your home, he can assist with rebuilding your life! Sean graciously offered to let me post his most recent article – Creating an Inventory When Everything is Gone.
I have heard Sean speak to emergency responders on how to help families when their lives are the most vulnerable. He is dynamic and worth hearing – so learn more about his programs and assistance by simply going here:
Now for the article and thanks, Sean!
Creating an Inventory When Everything is Gone
By Sean M. Scott
Imagine if your home was hit by a tornado and as you emerge from the storm cellar, all that’s left is a bare concrete slab. Your yard is strewn with debris from your neighbors and you have no idea where all your belongings went, except for the pair of underwear hanging in the tree across the street. So, you call your insurance company and the adjuster shows up and tells you that in order for you to receive the full benefits of your homeowners insurance policy, you will need to provide a detailed inventory of everything you owned, including a description of each item, its age, replacement cost, and any supporting documentation in the form of photos or receipts. Then you’re told that if you can’t provide one, the adjuster will create one for you. However, since he or she has no idea what you owned, you will most likely receive only a small fraction of your policy limits and replacement value. Now you’re thinking to yourself, how am I supposed to create an inventory when everything is gone? On one hand you don’t want to commit insurance fraud by claiming items in your inventory that you are not sure you owned and on the other hand you have a considerable amount of money in your policy to cover what was lost. Whether you experience a tornado, earthquake, fire, or flood, this task of creating an inventory can be one of the most daunting, time consuming, and frustrating phases in the recovery process.
So, how can you document what you had and maximize the benefits of your insurance? You need something to help you remember. One way is to ask friends or family members if they have photos that may have been taken in your home during a holiday gathering, party, or family get-together. Oftentimes photos like these can reveal furnishings, decor, or other items in the background that will help jog your memory. Looking through store catalogs can also help, but this can be very time consuming and may not be very effective in getting you the level of detail you will need. If you are like most, you might jot down the obvious big ticket items like electronics, appliances, furniture, etc., and figure most of the smaller ticket items just aren’t worth the time and energy to deal with. But what about all the food that was in the refrigerator and pantry, the vitamins, spices, books, holiday decorations, cosmetics, hand utensils, toys, sports equipment, DVD’s, tools, and so forth? Items like these add up fast and if you have a way to document them, you will maximize the benefits of your insurance and expedite your recovery.
The Personal Property Memory Jogger
After witnessing the devastation caused by wildfires that swept through Southern California in 2003 and again in 2007, that destroyed nearly 6,000 homes and damaged countless others, it became apparent that a resource was needed to help people create their inventories. As a result, necessity became the Mother of invention and a new tool was developed called The Personal Property Memory Jogger & Home Inventory Tool. The Memory Jogger is a pre-populated Excel spreadsheet that contains over 6,000 of the most commonly found household items broken down into a room-by-room format. Once downloaded, you have the option to delete items that may not apply to you and/or add items that may not already appear in the database. The Memory Jogger takes much of the guess work out of creating an inventory by memory alone and is available free-of-charge at http://www.theredguidetorecovery.com/recovery-tools/personal-property-memory-jogger/. It can also be used as a disaster preparedness tool to determine whether or not you have enough insurance to replace everything if it was lost. Now individuals, families, and whole communities have a free resource that will help them rebuild their homes and lives.
If you would like to see the vast array of free disaster preparedness and recovery resources, visit www.theredguidetorecovery.com.