Are you looking after your home as best as you can? Of course, we all do our best to keep the house presentable and habitable, but we need to spare a thought for the issues that are out of our control. While we can panic in our general neighborhoods about thieves, and social problems of this ilk, is your home prepared for a disaster? When we are on the lookout for a house that answers our prayers, we might not spare much thought to the area, but rather focus on the cost. When we find a house that is pretty much perfect and is within our budget, this can be to the detriment of other issues, such as if it’s in a bad neighborhood, or if it’s a place that is prone to natural disaster. Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, it seems that now, no one is safe from natural disasters. Is there anything we can do to prepare our home more effectively?

Thinking About The Property You Buy

Let’s face it; there are homes more prone to disaster than others. If you buy a home that is on the coast, surely you are going to spare a thought for the fact that the property could flood? If you’re in the process of buying a house, or you are looking for somewhere to settle down, it is important for you to grill the real estate agents and ask as many pointed questions as you can. Yes, you may stumble upon a bargain, but why is this? Think about the area, but also the property you want to buy. Does the home look, to your naked eye, safe? If you’re buying a home on the coast, is the build actually to such a standard that it can withstand some aspects of flooding? If not, this is going to have to come out of your pocket.

Understanding The Risks Of A Specific Area

Some basic knowledge of the weather will always serve you well, but you need to be prepared for the unknown. The most common risk in one part of the world will be completely different to another, for example, if you lived in New York, or on the east coast of America, earthquakes aren’t too much of a concern, but on the other hand, blizzards or earthquakes are going to be far more frequent. Usually, this is reflected in the insurance policies, which can be frustrating, especially if a specific policy is incredibly costly, but it still benefits you and your family to have a good idea of the risks involved in a specific area. There are resources online that can help you with this, and once you get a better idea, you can then prepare yourself for hypothetical and appropriate emergency scenarios.

Looking After Your Personal Items

Insurance policies can feel like a waste of money on occasion, but when you live in an area that is prone to disaster, there is no replacement for a good policy. Understanding your insurance policy can be time-consuming, not to mention boring, but when you make changes to your property or move into a new home, your homeowner insurance policy should change accordingly. It’s essential for you to review your policy annually so you have adequate coverage. If you are someone who makes constant changes to your home, even when you have re-painted the walls, or made some changes to a bathroom or kitchen, you need to ensure that the policy provides enough coverage should disaster strike. Homeowner insurance is one thing, but it’s important not to underestimate what the insurance for your possessions actually covers. If you live in an area that’s considered high-risk to floods, you would need a different policy than the standard buildings or contents insurance, and it’s important for you to discuss with your insurance provider what coverage you need to cover every single aspect. Everybody’s situation is different, and when you discuss with your providers what is needed, it can feel like they are piling on the coverage in order to get some more money out of you, but this is not the case. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility. If you’re not happy, find a cheaper provider that gives you the coverage you need. If you have many valuables, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they are looked after. Rare items can be irreplaceable, and if you live in an area that is prone to disaster, do you have the means to sufficiently protect them right now? And when you make a claim for damaged goods, the items are replaced on a like-for-like basis, which is worth thinking about when you have precious family heirlooms that cannot be replaced.

Looking after your property in spite of the damage

So you’ve made all the necessary preparations, but disaster strikes! What can you do? As soon as the priorities are taken care of, it’s time to undertake the irrelevant repairs. This is where your insurance company would come in handy, and they will have preferred contractors to get rid of the damage, such as water removal services, builders, or glass specialists to repair or replace your windows. You can help speed the insurance claims process along at this stage, and while you may think that you shouldn’t do any legwork to find your own contractors, you might find a cheaper contractor than the insurance company’s preferred supplier. This is a very stressful time because after your home has been subject to disaster, you will want to ensure a quick turnaround, but unfortunately, the claims process can drag on, depending on the damage sustained, as well as the type of coverage you have. The best method for yourself is to get a few estimates for repairs and check the contractors’ reliability, as well as their credentials. And when the work is completed and you are satisfied, only then should you pay the full price. These issues can all add up to a momentous amount of stress, but it’s in the best interests of you and your loved ones to get back into the property as soon as possible. Your insurance provider will put you up in temporary accommodation if your home isn’t habitable after the disaster, and while you have a roof over your head during the process of recovery, you’re still going to be living in a hotel, and there have been numerous complaints where policyholders have had to pay out themselves for meals, essentials, and general living costs. Not only is this a drain on your finances, but it’s incredibly frustrating and can only add to the amount of stress that you’re all feeling.

Constantly Learning

After a disaster has struck, we can only learn from our mistakes, maybe there was something we could have foreseen because there was one weak point in our home that let the damage build up quicker. If you have a nightmare with the insurance company (which a lot of people do), unfortunately, this may cause you to think twice about dealing with that company ever again, especially if the cost of insurance ends up increasing. A disaster where we sustain major damage to our home is one of the steepest learning curves we can ever undergo, but you may have some better ideas on how to protect your home in the future. General household maintenance, no matter how trivial, could help you minimize some damage. For example, checking the roof on a regular basis for any damage or wear and tear means you are less likely to have issues further down the line, should lightning strike twice, which will mean that you’d be able to get back to the property (and back on your feet) quicker. While we don’t like to think about what would happen if it was to occur again, this is why we need to think about protecting our home the way that we would be satisfied with. We can pay an insurance company, but they are only there when disaster strikes, not when we need advice on maintaining and preparing our property for a disaster. If you spend your time wisely preparing your loved ones and property from disasters you never saw coming, you will respond quicker and more effectively. It may sound like a lot of legwork, but this is our own responsibility to ensure that we are prepared for disaster. Unfortunately, we live in an age where there are more weather related problems than ever, not just floods or earthquakes, but heat related damage too.

We never think it will happen to us, but this is dicing with fate. For the sake of your loved ones and your home, if you are in the process of buying your dream property, or you’ve acquired somewhere, or you’re even planning ahead, think about the area and how it may be prone to disaster. While an insurance policy is all well and good, the best preparation is what you can do yourself, for the sake of our loved ones and our stress levels. So ask yourself, is your home prepared for a disaster? Or are you leaving it up to the gods?

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