Writing a couple of articles for this issue and for the previous one about recycling and salvage conjured memories of my Dumpster misadventures years ago.
Your Personal Action Plan
The hardest part is determining how much time and money are appropriate to protect against contingencies that might never occur.
Homeowners and business owners face this same problem: Data can be copied, and people, property and equipment can be insured, but the hardest part is determining how much time and money are appropriate to protect against contingencies that might never occur. Overinsuring, for example, can be as costly as underinsuring, and finding the right balance is difficult. At a minimum, the following should be part of your personal disaster planning:
Insurance: Spending time with your insurance agent is a good way to address matters such as life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, umbrella policies and riders. Regardless of the type of insurance, costs for policies should be outlined so appropriate decisions can be made. In some instances, needs analysis should be undertaken. An insurance agent or financial planner should be able to calculate the amount of life insurance necessary to replace lost income or lost services in case of death.
Computers and software: Beginning immediately, back up and protect your home computer system (see “Computer Protection on the Home Front”).
Family disaster planning: In the event of a catastrophe at home, does your family know what to do? Do they have the tools to do it? Does your home or apartment have flashlights, smoke detectors, chain ladders (to be hooked to and thrown from windowsills) and portable fire extinguishers? Does your family know the meeting location outside your home should they get split up during an evacuation? Do you have a list in your wallet with cell phone and car phone numbers?
A contingency list: In a well-marked envelope kept in an easily accessible location, store a current list of the location of all important documents and records. If the list is maintained on a computer file, update it as necessary and keep a current copy in the envelope.