Navigating Disasters: From Preparation to Recovery

Recovering from a disaster can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that you can rebuild and recover. While the immediate aftermath of a disaster can be overwhelming, focusing on the safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones should be your top priority.

It’s important to approach this process one step at a time, as rebuilding what was lost may take months or even years.

As your mortgage servicing partner, we want to provide resources and guidance to help you safeguard your home from the long-term impacts of a disaster. Whether you are preparing proactively or recovering from a recent disaster, our  comprehensive guide will help you navigate the path forward:

For additional information and support in the wake of a disaster, please see our Disaster Claims & Assistance FAQs.
Shielding your home: Vital steps for disaster preparedness

It’s better to be safe than sorry! When it comes to protecting your home from disasters, being proactive is key. Take action now to ensure your home is well-prepared for whatever nature throws your way.

Understanding your insurance coverage:

  • Carefully review your homeowner’s insurance policies to ensure your property is well protected from potential impacts of a disaster.
  • Coverage varies based on the insurance company and your chosen level of coverage, so it is important to understand exactly what your policy(ies) include. For example, knowing the extent of temporary housing coverage your homeowner’s insurance provides will help you plan proactively.
  • Homeowners insurance requirements are driven by your investor and/or mortgage servicer.
  • Consider adding endorsements or additional coverage to address specific hazards (also referred to as perils) not covered by your existing policy.

Coverage for structural damage:

  • The extent of homeowners insurance coverage varies but may include:
    • Fire damage, including damage from wildfires
    • Fallen trees
    • Hail and wind damage
    • Lightning damage
    • Damage from snow, ice, or sleet
  • Some policies may exclude wind damage in high-risk areas.
  • Be aware that flood damage is often not covered by homeowners insurance and your property may require separate flood insurance.

Helpful resources:

  • Flood insurance: The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), available through a network of insurance companies.
  • Earthquake insurance: FEMA provides valuable information about earthquake insurance and steps to prepare your home.

By understanding the coverage included in your homeowner’s insurance policy and assessing the need for additional protection against disasters, you can make informed decisions to safeguard your property.

Inventory your home and belongings:

An up-to-date inventory of home, personal, and any business-related assets can help expedite insurance claims and streamline recovery after unforeseen events. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Build your inventory.

  • Conduct a detailed walkthrough of your property, documenting valuable possessions inside and outside your home. Include photos and/or videos with detailed notes describing the items and their value.
  • If you operate any business from your home, be sure to include business assets in your inventory. This will help ensure comprehensive coverage and streamline the claims process for both personal and business-related items. Document these assets with photos, videos, and detailed notes describing their value and importance to your business operations.

Step 2: Store your inventory in a secure, accessible location.

  • Storing your inventory in the cloud will help ensure you can access it anytime, anywhere. Consider looking into digital home inventory programs or mobile applications, which can help simplify the process and keep your inventory organized.
  • If you choose to keep a physical inventory, be sure to store it off-site in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box.

Step 3: Keep your inventory updated. Be sure to update your inventory any time you make substantial improvements to your property or acquire new assets of value and remove items you no longer own.

Step 4: Consider additional coverage for your most valuable assets.

  • Check with your insurance agent for additional coverage of high-value items.
  • Consider storing infrequently used valuables in a safe deposit box.

For educational purposes only. If we are your mortgage servicer, please contact us for specific guidance.