A Firefighters Advice

At my home I receive a free weekly community newspaper, the Sammamish Review.  It’s fun to read about what’s going on, look at the local ads and how the teams are doing.  In this weeks’ paper there was a little notice:

EFR advises fire insurance

In 2010, Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to 110 structure fires that resulted in an estimated $1.7 million in property loss.

To avoid future property loss, EFR advises that homeowners and renters not only buy fire insurance, but also take inventory of personal items so insurance providers will have records of the lost items of value.  Without a list it is difficult to receive full replacement value.

Once photos are taken, keep two copies – one that is not stored in the home – for safekeeping.

Thank you, thank you, Eastside Fire & Rescue!!  Another professional voice heard from to encourage you to not only have full value home or renters insurance, but keep an up to date pictorial inventory of your “stuff”.  The two most common comments I’ve heard from clients at time of claim from house fire is: “I can’t remember what all was in that drawer/closet/room.” and “It’s been years and I’m still remembering things I’d forgotten about that we lost in the fire.” 

For years we have suggested:

  1.  Take your movie camera and start in one room.  First, show the room, pointing out any architecturally unique points (bow window, molding), then the furniture in the room, than any single pieces of art/furniture/knickknacks’ that you want to stand out.  DON’T FORGET TO OPEN DRAWERS OR CLOSET DOORS!  Then, go on to the next room.
  2. As you go, if you have any receipts for purchases of furniture, etc. mention that and price new (you could also scan those receipts and add them to your movie).  This isn’t mandatory, just gives baseline and helps in the claims process.  Show off your home…..
  3. Don’t worry about clutter or mess.  Just make sure to point out what you feel is important for a claims adjuster to know:  cedar lining in closet, special wine pantry, refrigerator drawer in kitchen.
  4. Don’t forget the garage, pool, decks, porches, patios, basement and any outbuildings (buildings not attached to the house) you might have.
  5. Make a copy of your tape/disc/little square thingy that goes in your camera.  Keep one and give one to your insurance agent for safekeeping, or put it in your safety deposit box, or with a close friend…..just get it off site.  Then, don’t forget to update!  Choose one time a year (after Christmas is a good, quiet time to go over this).  Shoot the new stuff and mention anything that you have gotten rid of through the year.

It sounds like A LOT to do, but just getting started and doing it is more than most.  Anything you do will help you remember during a time when your memories are all you have.