- Protect your valuables: Protect keepsakes in waterproof containers and/or take the items with you if you evacuate. Also, make sure important documents, such as an insurance policy or mortgage papers, are stored in a safe deposit or fire safe box. Make a backup set of electronic copies and save them on CDs, DVDs or external drives that should be stored in another safe location, such as a bank safe deposit box or the distant home of a trusted friend or relative.Inventory the valuable contents of your home with pictures or video. Note the approximate value of each item and the date of purchase.Inventory the valuable contents of your home with pictures or video. Note the approximate value of each item and the date of purchase.
- Know your policy: It’s critical to read and understand your insurance policy. You should read it annually as well as immediately, given the impending storm. You should ask questions and make sure you understand what type of policy you have. With “replacement cost policies,” you’re covered for the present cost of replacing damaged possessions. “Cash value policies” cover items at their depreciated value, which means your reimbursement check will be less.While tornado and fire damage are typically covered by most policies, supplemental insurance is needed for earthquakes and flood. You can gauge the flood risk for your address and the policy cost at FloodSmart.gov.
- Look into income tax relief: If you do get hit by the storm, you may get relief on your income taxes. IRS Publication 547 explains how provisions of the tax code might affect someone in your situation. You can also call the agency’s hotline for all disaster-related tax issues at 1-866-562-5227.
Sources: Wolfe Insurance Group (http://wolfeinsurancegroup.com/storm/) and AARP (http://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-08-2012/protect-important-documents-and-valuables.html)