Prevention is the best way to avoid becoming a fire victim. Keep matches and lighters in a locked cabinet out of children's reach. Store flammable liquids in approved containers away from the furnace or other heat source. Get rid of oily rags, newspapers, and trash that can accelerate a fire. Replace frayed electrical cords. Service the fireplace, chimney, wood stove, and furnace before frigid temperatures arrive Place cooled ashes from a fireplace or woodstove in a designated metal container. Turn off the space heater when you leave the room or go to sleep. Rugs, curtains, and home décor should be at least three feet away from heating equipment. Remove lint from the clothes dryer filter after each use. Clean he dryer vent annually. Stay in the kitchen to monitor food while it is cooking. Keep flammable potholders, paper or plastic bags, towels, etc. away from the stovetop. Burn candles in sturdy holders away from children and pets. Extinguish candle flames when you leave the room. Never smoke in bed. A strategically placed fire extinguisher (i.e. kitchen, furnace area, and garage) may help you avoid a tragic situation.
Smoke alarms save lives by alerting those inside to exit the home. Install a smoke alarm on each level of your home, including the basement. Place one near every bedroom. Check batteries monthly; replace batteries every six months. There may be very little time to act when a house fire occurs. Those inside, including pets, need an established escape plan so they can get out quickly. Identify two ways to get out of each room. Designate an outside meeting spot where everyone gathers in a fire emergency. Hold regular fire drills so everyone know what to do and where to go if there is a fire in the home.
Victims often turn to an insurance company for help with the cost of rebuilding, repairing, and replacing fire-damaged property. However, adequate protection must be in place before the loss occurs. Policyholders should be familiar with the insurance contract. Pay attention to what the contract does and does not cover, policy limits, claim settlement provisions and restrictions, and responsibilities following a loss.
Homeowners insurance s a package policy that covers the dwelling, detached structures, personal belongings, and personal liability. Choose a dwelling coverage limit based on the home's replacement cost. Replacement cost refers to rebuilding the structure with like-quality materials. The figure is based on factors like square feet, building materials, attached garage, basement, porch, special features, and more. Not having enough insurance on the dwelling may result in a loss settlement far less than the amount needed to repair damages.
Policyholders must be familiar with their contents insurance requirements as well. A personal property inventory is a detailed room by room record of your belongings, and a great way to assess these needs. Include rand names, model information, serial numbers, and receipts whenever possible. Photographs, videos, and value appraisals are also useful. Confirm how much contents insurance is necessary, and then check the policy for restrictions and limitations. Talk to the agent about coverage gaps. Companies offer a variety of policy add-ons to tailor personal property insurance for individual needs.
Keep the homeowners insurance policy and personal property inventory in a fireproof container, safe deposit box, or other secure off-site location. Review these documents annually. Increase the dwelling limit to reflect building additions, alterations, or inflation. Update the personal property inventory, and adjust coverage as necessary.
Go over the policy's loss settlement provisions. Dwelling losses may be covered for replacement cost, functional replacement cost, or guaranteed replacement cost. Identify what type of coverage the policy provides, and what to expect in a claim settlement. Contents claims are typically pid on an actual cash value basis. Actual cash value losses are reduced for depreciation.
Finally, be familiar with your duties following a loss.