Four ways to be prepared for the unexpected

Most of us awake to an ordinary day, but sometimes events beyond our control turn our lives upside down.

Are you and your family prepared for the unexpected? Here are four things you can do so your family is better equipped to deal with a disaster:

Review your homeowners insurance policy at least once a year. An annual insurance check is a great way to make sure you have the right coverage in the event of a disaster. For example, did you know that damage from a flood or earthquake is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies? Your agent can help you determine whether you need additional coverage. Your homeowners policy also has coverage limits in certain areas, such as jewelry. If you have a lot of expensive jewelry, collectibles or antiques, you’ll want to discuss additional coverage with your insurance agent.

Tally your belongings. Create a written inventory of the personal belongings in your home. Have a video camera? Videotape a tour of your home. Keep these inventories, along with receipts for all big-ticket items, in a fireproof safe or store them electronically in a password-protected environment.

Craft an evacuation plan. Do you have a plan for getting everyone out of your home and in a safe place in the event of a fire or other disaster? Where will your family go should a fire damage your home or flood make it unlivable? If disaster strikes, do you have a plan for getting a hold of all members of your family, at school and at work? Planning in advance for disaster makes living through it a bit easier.

Safeguard important information. Important personal and financial documents in paper form should be kept in a waterproof and fireproof environment. Consider creating and maintaining a disaster recovery file so that you have all of your important documents easily accessible even if your home is destroyed.