Financial Planner

Recent brush fires, floods and other disasters are reminders that it can pay to keep your homeowners insurance up-to-date.

* Today: Call your insurance agent.

Make sure you have adequate homeowners coverage. If you've done major renovations or if building costs are rising rapidly in your area, your current coverage might not be enough to rebuild your home. Guaranteed replacement coverage has almost disappeared from the insurance scene, so it's important to make sure your coverage amount is actually enough to rebuild your home.

* Saturday: Videotape your home and its contents.

The fastest and best way to document an insurance claim is with photographs or a videotape taken before disaster strikes. If you don't have a video camera, you can usually rent one from a camera store for about $25. Spend time documenting each room and all its contents, getting close-ups of serial numbers and other identifying features. Shoot the outside of your home and the contents of any outbuildings. Store the videocassette or photos in a safe place away from home.

* Sunday: Do a safety inspection.

Check the inside and outside of your home for hazards that could injure family and guests. Overloaded outlets, scatter rugs that can slip, poor lighting over steps and entryways and loose railings are among the most common household hazards. To reduce fire hazards, clear away flammable brush and vegetation, cover chimneys with a nonflammable mesh screen and remove dead leaves from gutters.

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