Your Home Fire Safety Financial Checklist

Country star Trace Adkins and his family just endured a devastating home fire.  What thankfully saved them was having a home fire safety plan.  It involved determining a meeting place ahead of time to gather, which lowered the chances that a family member would hide in an unsafe place and become unaccounted for.

The same kind of planning can also occur with your finances.  No one expects to wake up in the middle of the night to a fire that destroys your home.  But it can happen, and rare things tend to happen these days.  If you take the time to prepare even the slightest plan, your future self may thank you.

Here are 5 things to consider for protecting you and your family financially in the event of a home fire:

1. Insurance:  Naturally, insurance makes the top of the list because it may provide you with the money to get temporary shelter and to replace damaged property.  Insurance carriers can offer you a policy to cover a variety of calamities includes fires and floods.  It’s important to take pictures of your belongings and to store those pictures in a safe place in order to have a smoother claims process.

2. Emergency Fund:  Insurance doesn’t provide you with money to replace your belongings and find temporary shelter right away.  While undergoing your claims process, an emergency fund with 4-6 months of living expenses may help lower short term stress due to money.

3.  No or Low-Interest Credit Card or Line of Credit:  In the absence of an emergency fund, a no or low-interest credit card or line of credit may help provide you with the money to get your family to safety without losing money on high interest fees.  Once your claim is processed, it’s key to pay these off.

4. Offsite BackupsCarbonite and other brands of backup software can automatically store the contents of your computer offsite from your home.  You ideally want to get your computer to state where losing your hard drive wouldn’t be catastrophic, and its contents can be easily restored onto a new hard drive — including purchased software.

5.  Residual Income:  We all wish that we didn’t have to work 8-10 hours per day or more in order to generate income.  However, if you’re able to position your income so that you’re able to take 4-6 weeks off to rebuild your life without losing your income, that may give you the space to focus on rebuilding your life faster.  Alternatively, ask your employer about your company’s personal time off policy to address family emergencies and plan ahead around it.

We often neglect to plan for the financial side of unexpected events.  Adding items like these to your fire safety checklist may help you have a more well-rounded plan for surviving catastrophes and putting the event behind you quickly.  As with life, hope for the best but plan for the worst.

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