Preparing For Hurricane Season: What You Need To Document
South Florida is one of the most perfect places to live—sunny beaches, booming businesses, and a diverse culture. However, this peninsular utopia does come with one unfortunate consequence associated with its ideal coastal geography: seasonal hurricanes.
If you live in Southern Florida, you know that hurricanes are a serious matter that require a great deal of preparation to properly weather. While having fully-stocked hurricane survival kits and reinforcing your windows and doors will certainly come in handy when the wind picks up, too often in the state of getting prepared proper documentation gets left out.
Knowing what to document before and after a hurricane strikes can save you immeasurable hours and headache down the road when dealing with your insurance company. Here are a few steps you can take to help make this hurricane season a little less destructive.
Advances in technology have made it much easier for residents in South Florida to both secure and retrieve important financial and identifying documents. Now instead of strapping down filing cabinets, storing valuables in bags hung from rafters or pursuing any other antiquated means of ensuring essentials aren’t blown away, lost or destroyed, you can simply scan, upload and store whatever you need to a network of servers in the cloud that even the most destructive hurricane can’t reach.
There are a number of websites available where you can freely and securely keep a record of what you own, including difficult-to-replace physical possessions such as jewelry and furniture. But even after capitalizing on online resources and services, it is still never a bad idea to back up electronic files and store duplicates in a separate location. You never know if the storm will knock out utilities and how long it will be until they are restored, and having physical copies never hurts.
When the winds die down, the waters recede and you have double-checked to make sure the premises are safe to reenter, it is time to take an inventory of your home and all that is in it. Take with you a notebook or use your smart phone to get a record of any part of your property, top to bottom, that was damaged—roof, ceiling, walls, carpet, everything. Then move on to your more valuable belongings—your car, furniture, television. Anything of significant value is worth getting a record of. If you are not sure whether your policy covers part of your property or your belongings, it is best to err on the safe side by getting the record now. There is no such thing as redundant record-keeping in the wake of a natural disaster like a hurricane.
If you have photo-taking capability on your phone or a point-and-shoot camera handy, use it. Creating lists of your damaged property is good, but taking pictures and video is better. Remember, the point of painstaking documentation after a hurricane is to help make the whole insurance claims process go more smoothly.
If you want to know more about how to secure your important documents this hurricane season, feel free to contact us today.