1. Subscribe to an online data backup service (The writer of the original story says: My external backup drive sat right next to my laptop in my office (which burned down)). I like BackBlaze! Use my affiliate link for a free trial offer: https://www.backblaze.com/cloud-backup.html#af9wuu
2. Keep passports in a safe deposit box. [MacMedics Pro Tip: Make copies as well and store a digital copy in your new online backup service too! Dropbox might be a good place. Also, when traveling, copy medical documents, driver’s license, passport, and other files you might need onto an encrypted, password-protected, and water-proof thumb drive.]
3. Take pictures of each room initially and update them as improvements are made (storing them somewhere offsite – like Flickr, and also in your cloud backup!
4. Take pictures and keep web links to all expensive purchases, including jewelry.
5. Hire an architect (my dad in our case) or use floorplanner.com to document each floor layout along with precise wall/ceiling measurements, each outlet, light switch, crown molding, other trim, type of flooring, any unique items to the structure of the property. [MacMedics Pro Tip: When you rebuild, the insurance company will try to pay the lowest amount by building things as basic as possible. By having a detailed floor plan with engineering plans and pictures of each wall, you can force them to build it the way it was!]
1/11/23 Update a customer who had her 1800’s farmhouse burn down said to purchase Code-Upgrade insurance. The insurance company must build it to the current code when it’s rebuilt!
6. Put phones in a consistent place each night. [MacMedics Pro Tip: iPhone is right there 24/7!]
7. Get fire ladders for any second-floor bedrooms.
8. Scan each photo and receipt, again keeping them offsite or on an online data backup service.
9. Do not be frugal with homeowner’s insurance. Spend the extra $50 per year for the most coverage. [MacMedics Pro Tip: Highly recommended! Buy a replacement policy rider for anything you have that is valuable. If your $3000 camera or computer system burns up, it will be hard to get the full amount. Insurance might pay $500 to $1000. Also, see SafeWare.com for computer insurance. If you don’t own your home, get renter’s insurance. It is super cheap! Clothes are also not fully covered by most policies. If you had to replace every piece of clothing your family owns, that could cost you $10,000. Insurance will not cover all of that.]