Mother Nature could be excused if she wondered, “How much more prompting do you people need?”
This year delivered epic wildfires, devastating hurricanes, massive floods and some pretty horrific earthquakes. Yet many people still haven’t taken a few critical steps to protect their financial lives from such disasters.
Consider setting aside a few hours this week to take care of these four essential tasks:
Ask your insurer to rerun the numbers to ensure you have enough coverage to rebuild your home completely. United Policyholders, a U.S.-based advocacy group for insurance customers, recommends adding as much “extended replacement cost” coverage as you can afford. This add-on boosts the policy’s coverage limits by 20 per cent to 100 per cent if costs run unexpectedly high, as often happens in disaster zones when rebuilding costs soar. Another smart addition: “building code upgrade” or “ordinance coverage” to pay the higher costs of rebuilding to current standards.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover floods, so consider buying a flood policy if your home may be at risk.
You want “replacement cost” coverage for your home’s contents, not “actual cash value,” which will pay only pennies on the dollar to replace your stuff
You may need extra coverage if you have certain valuables, such as jewelry, collectibles, guns or computers and other home office equipment. Policies typically limit coverage to $1,500 to $2,500 for each of these categories.
Opt for generous “loss of use” or “additional living expenses” coverage since that will pay your rent and other costs while your home is uninhabitable. United Policyholders recommends having at least two years’ worth of additional living expense coverage. If you’re concerned your coverage limits are too low and your insurer won’t let you upgrade, shop around for a better provider.
Some people use DropBox, a file sharing and storage site, for family pictures and Box, a similar site known for its security features, for financial documents. Other cloud services include Microsoft’s OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud and Google Drive. Documents can be scanned with mobile apps or desktop scanners, which typically cost $200-$400.
Disaster survivors say the following documents can be particularly important, according to United Policyholders:
Insurance policies Passports and birth certificates Family photos Tax and loan documents Stocks and bonds Wills and trusts Home blueprints or surveys,
Passports and birth certificates
Tax and loan documents
Stocks and bonds
Wills and trusts
Home blueprints or surveys,
if you have them. Do a quick home inventory. This can be as simple as walking around your home, inside and out, recording your stuff with your smartphone’s video camera and storing that video in the cloud. Or you can use an app, such as Sortly, MyStuff2 or United Policyholders’ UPHelp Home Inventory, to photograph and itemize your possessions.
Some password managers let you offer emergency access to others. Another option is to keep copies of your passwords, or your master password, with your estate planning documents. Services such as Everplans and Fidelity Investments’ FidSafe offer online storage with secure sharing options.
Source : http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1545021-four-steps-to-disaster-proof-your-finances