How to Prepare for the Unforseen

The tornado tragedy in Oklahoma, like Superstorm Sandy, reminds us all, of course, how powerful and random nature can be.

It also should serve as a reminder of how important it is to prepare for unforeseen events—ones that not only can inflict personal harm but financial damage as well.

The first line of defense financially is to make sure your insurance is up to date and sufficient. Make sure your property and casualty insurance is adequate and covers the full replacement cost, in today’s dollars, of your dwelling and belongings.

Make sure, obviously, that your insurance bills are paid up, including for any “riders” that cover specially appraised items like jewelry, artwork, antiques and family heirlooms.

Be sure, too, that your most important documents and items are secured either in a fire- and waterproof safe or box at home or in a safe-deposit box at your bank. The safe-deposit box is probably your best bet for valuables except your most vital estate-planning documents. In many states, deposit boxes are sealed upon the death of the owner. That could complicate your heirs’ efforts to gain access at the time of maximum need.

Finally, take photos and videos of your home and most valuable possessions and make sure those photographic records are safe and secure. They’ll come in handy if you ever need to document a claim

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