When a disaster hits, it is really important to know where all of your insurance documents are located. 7 On Your Side looked at advice and a look at the very latest in document retrieval.
For years I have kept one set of insurance documents with me and another in a different location. Sometimes it's been a safe deposit box, a work desk drawer or even my parent's house... all good ideas, but now there is a high tech solution.
When an earthquake hits first there is a scramble to save lives, then there is a scramble for insurance paperwork. Often homeowners in a disaster have only one set of papers and that set is trapped inside a home that is no longer safe to enter.
"As the recent earthquake in Napa has shown us, it is imperative that people have access to their documents in more than one place," John Hammill from FEMA said. He thinks it is important to have access to all your documents. "We recommend that you have scanned them, put them on a thumb drive and have a copy outside of the region that you live in."
It is wonderful advice and some people do know about their paperwork and where it is, even if they don't have their hands on it at the moment.
And making it easier to keep track of insurance paperwork are apps from the insurance companies themselves. Insurance companies are even competing for customers with their apps. We looked at an app from State Farm.
"You can pay your bills online, file a claim, you can deposit a check into State Farm Bank, you can look at your home policies, you can see your mutual funds, your life insurance policies and your health policies," San Francisco State Farm agent Mary Spellman said. "Most people don't know where their insurance paperwork is stored, that is the number one request that we get."
And in case of a claim it walks you through the process.
"The app is fantastic, one because you do not have to search for everything, everything is in one central location, and in case you forget to ask a question, something you might need later, it automatically asks you for it," Spellman said.
Samual Khamis is a State Farm client. He said, "It just puts it all in one place and I do everything on my phone anyway. I am always on a mobile app to do stuff and so this keeps it all together for me. Even when I am in my car I do not have to look for my insurance paperwork."
Check with your insurance company to see what they offer for free.