The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Prepare now -- before disaster strikes

Would you know what to do if a storm or other disaster damaged or destroyed your home? Our researchers followed six families who have rebuilt, or begun to, in the aftermath of hurricane, fire, tornado, explosion and other calamities. Based on those interviews, and on conversations with highly rated service providers, our team compiled advice on dealing with a disaster:
Before a disaster
Be aware. No home is immune to catastrophe. Each year, storms and other disasters damage thousands of houses.
Maintain an inventory. Go room to room, photographing or video-recording your home and its contents. Make a list of your property and keep receipts for high-ticket items. Include approximate age, replacement cost and serial numbers for major appliances or electronics. Keep a copy of the inventory somewhere besides your home.
Review your insurance. Once a year, read through your homeowners policy. Will your policy cover the cost to replace your home and furnishings? What about cost overruns? If you can't live in the house, will insurance pay for a hotel room or apartment? Rental furniture?
Consider a safe. Before buying a safe, be sure it's been tested to withstand fire and water damage.
After a disaster
Don't delay your claim. Contact your insurer immediately. If you incur expenses in protecting or repairing what you can, keep receipts to later give the insurance adjuster.
Document damage. Your cellphone may be the perfect tool for this.
Pay your mortgage. You don't want to deal with a negative credit rating or a loan default. But check to see what's negotiable.
Be patient. Don't rush to settle your insurance claim. Consider contacting your state's insurance department if you believe the settlement is unfair.
Avoid scams. Disasters attract unscrupulous vendors. Take time to interview contractors and talk to former clients.
Seek specific experience. Hire a contractor with experience in rebuilding homes.
Avoid large upfront payments. Be wary of contractors who want a lot of money before the job starts.
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie's List, a resource for local consumer reviews; www.angieslist.com/.
Story tags » Home Improvement

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

HeraldNet highlights

The prized recruit
The prized recruit: Colleges try to woo Marysville Pilchuck football star Joyner
Prime time players
Prime time players: Carroll has Seahawks ready for pressure of the big stage
Lovely La Conner
Lovely La Conner: Town charms visitors with museums, fine dining
Home for the final time
Home for the final time: USS Rodney M. Davis returns to Everett (gallery)
SnoCoSocial