This pictures is of Melanie’s house as it burns to the ground within 60 minutes. It was a fixer-upper she and her husband had poured their savings and souls into with all sorts of DIY projects, and they and their two-and-half year-old son escaped it becoming their pyre by only minutes and with only the clothes on their backs. These are 9 things she wished beforehand, now that she is wrestling with insurance and filing claims:
1. Subscribe to an online data backup service (my external back up drive sat right next to my laptop in my office)
2. Keep passports in a safe deposit box
3. Take pictures of each room initially and update them as improvements are made (storing them somewhere offsite – like Flickr)
4. Take pictures and keep hyperlinks of all expensive purchases, including jewelry
5. Hire an architect (my dad in our case) or use floorplanner.com to document each floor layout along with precise wall/ceiling measurements, each outlet, light switch, crown molding, other trim, type of flooring, any unique items to structure of property
6. Put phones in a consistent place each night
7. Get fire ladders for any second floor bedrooms
8. Scan each photo and receipt [for expensive purchases], again keeping them offsite, or on an online data backup service
9. Do not be frugal with homeowner’s insurance. Spend the extra $50 per year for the most coverage
It was a tragedy, but now Melanie and her family are pulling through, thanks in no small part to the generosity of their neighbors. She just wishes they had taken some precautions in advance to make the insurance claims filing process easier, and is now sharing what she’s learned so others don’t make the same mistakes.
For info on choosing and using a home safe, check out this Consumer Reports guide.
On A Serious Note [Young House Love]