Insure Your Valuables Before Disaster Strikes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/2/06

Insure Your Valuables Before Disaster Strikes

Just hours from Lubbock, the damage is devastating as wildfires destroy hundreds of homes, leaving hundreds of families homeless. For those without insurance, it leaves them with nothing. That's why Farmers Insurance Agency manager, Jim White says its important to protect your home and valuables now.

"What you have to do is take care of losses before they happen," says White.

That begins with taking an inventory of everything in your home from electronics to the pictures on the wall. Video cameras or pictures are easier to show proof of loss but you can also include a written inventory.

White says, "When you have a loss, it's your responsibility to justify that loss to the insurance company." A copy of that evidence needs to be given to your insurance agent and you need to keep a copy in your home. If you don't have a fire proof safe, White suggests putting it in a jar in the refrigerator.

To make sure everything is replaced, you'll need to carry 100% replacement coverage. White says, "When they have a loss, they realize how difficult it is to build home back. It's very important to have full replacement and a lot of people think it's okay to carry 80% of replacement cost. That still leaves 20% you have to pay out of pocket."

If you already have a policy, make sure it's current because costs often increase during renewal periods. White says, "Values increase due to catastrophic loss, like we had with hurricanes. That can drive the material cost up, labor cost up, roof shingles up doing a hail storm, drive the value of the cost of your home up, so it costs more to replace your home than buy it brand new."

Renters also need to get insurance. You won't be responsible for a fire in your apartment but you are responsible for insuring your own valuables.

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