Disasters can happen to anyone – and they always take you by surprise. While you can’t always prevent an emergency, you can be ready for one. Protecting your family and property starts with thinking about how you can handle incidents if they arise. Get a jump start on your disaster readiness, read on to learn five key emergency preparedness tips that apply to everyone!
Know Your Risks
Few emergency preparedness tips are more important than understanding your risks. Depending on where you are in the world, there are specific types of risks that are more likely to happen.
If you live in tornado alley, it’s critical that you consider what you would do during a tornado with your home or property in the path. Likewise, if your area is high-risk for floods, your emergency preparations need to consider the unique challenges you would face.
In addition to weather events, the type of property you want to protect matters. Restaurant owners, for instance, can have a higher risk of fire disaster than a typical homeowner.
Knowing your risks lets you prepare for the worst. It also helps you when establishing insurance policies for you and your family. One big surprise for many homeowners is when they experience a flood and discover that their home isn’t insured for flood damage!
Do your research to learn what your risks are. This applies whether you’re shopping for a new home, business or even if you’re living where you’ve lived for decades. It’s always better to be informed!
Create an Emergency Go-Bag
Disasters can temporarily leave you with no access to your home. A go-bag is a bag you pack exclusively to be used in an emergency. It should have most things that you’ll need to survive a few days to help you avoid problems following a fire, natural disaster or other event.
The most important parts of a go-bag are:
- Basic medical supplies like a first aid-kit, bandages, anti-septic, and anti-bacterial wipes.
- Enough water to sustain you and your family for approximately three days
- Non-perishable food like protein bars that are dense in calories and easy to store
- Appropriate clothing for your area of the world
- Battery-operated radio
Depending on your geographical location, you may want to also include things like emergency blankets and hand-warmers to help fight the chill of winter.
While the primary benefit of a go-bag is to be able to grab it and go during evacuation of your home or city, it can also be a helpful backup source of food and water if you’re stuck at home. During floods or extreme winter storms that may trap you in your home for multiple days, it’s always good to have access to additional sources of clean water and calorie-dense foods.
Take Inventory of Your Property
One common recommendation that everyone with home or renter’s insurance should follow is to take a detailed inventory of their property. Fire, burglary or other disasters can leave you with a laundry list of property that’s insured but needs to go through the claims process. If a majority of your property was lost, it can be incredibly difficult to accurately remember what you owned.
Try to imagine one room of your home, like a living room or kitchen. Think of everything in that room, from the electronics to the appliances to personal touches like art. While you may be able to remember most of it in general, can you remember what models they are, their brands or artists?
The more information you have during the insurance claims process, the easier it will be for everyone involved. More importantly, you’ll be able to restore your home with the property that was lost without feeling like something was missing.
When taking inventory, there are a few steps you should take:
- Create a digital list that’s stored in the cloud or online so you can access it even if your computer is lost or stolen.
- Include as much information about each individual piece of property that you can.
- Important information covers things like brand, model and cost.
- Include pictures of each room which you can refer to.
Establish a Plan
One of the other most critical emergency preparedness tips is to establish a plan of action that follows any emergency. Your plan should include steps to take for the most common incidents that can occur: fire, flooding, long-term loss of power, and burglary or other potential intruder threats.
Primary parts of an emergency preparedness plan should include:
Escape Routes – Particularly for fires, you should practice with your family how to escape the house safely. Make sure to think about multiple exits, as fires can spread uncontrollably, and hallways or rooms may become unusable quickly.
Meet-Up Location – This should be a safe location that’s distant enough from your house but close enough that it only takes about 30 seconds to a minute to arrive at. You can also have a second meet-up location for intruder threats, such as a nearby family member’s home or a trusted neighbor.
Contact Information – Because smartphones store all our contacts, it’s common not to consider memorizing phone numbers anymore. As part of your emergency planning, have your family memorize important phone numbers in case they can’t access their phone.
Educate Yourself on Your Insurance Policies
Insurance plans can seem daunting, but most of the important information is often easily accessible and clearly stated. Make sure you’re ready for emergencies by evaluating your insurance policies and asking yourself these questions:
What’s covered under my insurance?
Looking through your policy, you can often find out where there may be gaps that require you to contact your insurance provider to correct. For instance, if you own your home without a loan, you weren’t likely required to have flood insurance. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it!
Is my insurance up-to-date?
Likewise, some valuable property like jewelry may exceed the maximum your insurance covers. Maybe it didn’t a year ago, but you recently purchased new jewelry, electronics or expensive furniture. Update your insurance to stay covered!
Do I know how to file a claim?
Being prepared when you need to file a claim can help avoid headaches associated with not having information required by your insurance company. Read your provider’s information about filing a claim so that if you need to do so, you can have everything in order.
Do I need additional coverage?
As your assets grow, your insurance needs grow too. At a certain point, you may need supplemental coverage to avoid the limits of liability protected by your primary insurance coverage. That’s where an umbrella policy can help. Most people benefit from having an umbrella policy!
Contact Iott Insurance for a Quote Today
Iott Insurance has been a part of southeast Michigan for over 50 years. We can help you plan your insurance needs and find you the right policies or plans to protect you.
Or you can visit one of our three offices in southeast Michigan:
Blissfield, MI – (517) 628-4574
Lambertville, MI – (734) 807-3825
Petersburg, MI – (734) 215-9884
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