Wildfires continue to destroy large swaths of California, taking with it human life as well as homes and prized personal possessions.
NBC 7 Responds has some basic tips to help in case your home is in the line of fire and you or your loved ones are left with the burdensome task of filling out insurance forms to try and recoup your losses. Insurance companies don’t know what you lost, so it’s up to you to create a list of what was destroyed. When dealing with a claims adjuster you will need to fill out extensive paperwork to replace your home and the furnishings inside.
So, it’s extremely important that you create an inventory of all your belongings. While you can do that in writing, it’s much easier to pull out your cell phone out and start recording, going from room to room filming your belongings. You can narrate while you record.
“The most difficult thing for most people who are involved in a large fire is that they don’t remember what they had,” said State Farm Insurance agent Walt Waggener. “I’ve been through a fire and I can tell you when you are looking at a smoldering ruin you don’t remember what was there. It is so disorienting.”
Waggener says you need to be very detailed; open up drawers, go into your closets and your garage. Get all the video you can get. If possible include the make and model of home appliances. Makes sure to capture artwork, antiques and other valuables.
When you are finished, transfer the video from your phone onto a portable hard drive or store it in a “cloud” service. Be sure to store the information somewhere other than your home - little good it will do if it is damaged with all of your other belongings.
And don’t wait until emergency crews knock on your door to start the project.
“As my Grandpa used to say, dig your well before you’re thirsty,” said Waggener.
The key is start the project now, before the fires or floods start knocking on your door. Preparation won't divert a disaster, but it can soften the blow.