The tragic fire which consumed Orange Jeep Dad’s home, vehicles, guns, ammo, preps and other property got me thinking. I wonder how many other preppers out there have lots of valuable personal property but do not have systems in place to cover the replacement cost of these items? If a fire burns your home to the ground it might be a bad time to mention to your policy carrier about all of the items you had, only to find out that some of them might not be covered or that what you owned exceeded certain limits on portions of your policy. Many of us have spent years and years (and lots of money) building our prep stash and as such it must be protected. Granted, I understand that there are various insurance providers who offer different policies/riders/discounts based on a variety of factors. Recognizing that there is no way I can offer one solid all encompassing piece of advice other than this: talk to your provider and make sure you have all of the systems in place to protect all of your valuable personal property. Here are a few steps I took to accomplish that task, if they apply feel free to use them as well.
Have an Insurance Policy
This might seem obvious but unless you have enough cash in the bank to cover the replacement cost of your home and everything contained inside it might be a good idea to have an insurance policy. Additionally make sure the amount of coverage for personal belongings (different than the dwelling replacement cost) is enough to cover your preps, not just your flat screen TV’s and furniture.
Need Additional Coverage?
My insurance carrier covers guns but only up to a limited dollar amount. Knowing this I had to take out a Valuable Personal Property policy which covers all of my guns and optics. It also covers jewelry and coins which is nice. Of course this means documenting each gun/optic that I own and the corresponding serial #’s so if you aren’t comfortable with sharing that information (for proof of ownership) with your insurance provider you might need a work-around.
Take pictures of your items and store them on your computer and on an external hard drive in your GHB or BOB. If your home burns down and your computer goes up in smoke you’ll be glad you had the electronic data stored separately. Additionally I like to have a video tour of my home and everything inside of it stored in multiple places, just in case.
My insurance provider stated that pictures and video would suffice if I needed to provide proof of ownership of anything, but when possible I also like to save receipts which help to establish value. I have paper and electronic copies of receipts for my most essential items, redundancy is key.
Utilize a Good Safe
Thankfully for Orange Jeep Dad, many of the items in his safe were spared from the fire. I too keep many of my valuables in a good safe strategically placed in the basement. In the event of a major fire hopefully it would be spared from the most intense heat.
Don’t Forget the Basics
In addition to all of the above I have multiple fire extinguishers on every level of my home. I make sure my smoke detectors work and I never leave candles burning or a fire burning in the pit outside (in the back yard) unattended. I make sure my furnace is cleaned and change the filter every month. The little things cannot be overlooked when it comes to protecting your home and everything inside of it. Finally, while good fire extinguishers are expensive you have to ask yourself: can you afford NOT to have them?