As a mom, you have to be ready for anything. Sometimes, that means planning for the worst, like a fire in your home.
Keeping your family safe starts with an evacuation plan. Given how rapidly fires spread through a building, advance planning with your kids can be life-saving. When you’re planning your fire escape, remember to:
- Find two routes out of each room where possible, including windows;
- Draw a floor map for young kids;
- Choose an outside meeting place where you can all reunite;
- Make sure everyone knows that once they’re out, they should stay out.
Now, fire safety is your number one priority, but what about once you’ve all safely escaped? Rebuilding after a house fire is an enormous undertaking. Unless you’re adequately insured, it can also be costly.
Understand Your Fire Insurance Policy
Before you can make sure you have enough coverage, you need to know what homeowners insurance covers in the first place. There are three major expenses covered by your policy in the event of a fire.
#1 Rebuilding Your Home
The cost of repairing or rebuilding your home is covered by the Structure portion of your policy. The insurer will cover the costs of hiring contractors and building materials to restore your home to its pre-loss state.
It’s important to note that this is not the same as the listing value of your home. To get an estimate of what it might cost to rebuild your home, you may want to find out what construction costs per square foot are like in your area.
The cost of building materials like lumber can fluctuate, and recent price increases may mean you don’t have enough coverage. By some estimates, higher lumber prices increased the cost of new home construction by $30,000.
#2 Replacing Your Belongings
The Contents part of your policy will help you replace lost belongings such as furniture, clothing, appliances, electronics, media, etc. Even food can be covered, which can be a relief for families with a well-stocked chest freezer or pantry.
In some cases, the insurer may try to restore smoke-damaged belongings rather than replace them. It can be hard to give up on beloved possessions like favorite stuffed animals, but smoke restoration can be expensive and isn’t guaranteed. That money is taken out of your total for replacing your belongings.
Certain valuables such as art or jewelry are subject to special limits that may not be high enough to replace them. Make sure that you have enough coverage for higher-value items.
#3 Living Elsewhere
While your home is being rebuilt, you still have to keep up with mortgage payments, property taxes, and other expenses. That can make it tight when you’re also paying for a rental and dealing with additional costs like storage or transportation.
Those additional costs will also be covered by your insurance policy, and you can often receive a cash advance for them. This can help your family stay out of debt.
Review your policy now. You’ll rest easy knowing that your home is covered.