No one expects to have a fire, wind, or perhaps broken pipe to damage their home and possessions, but incidents such as these occur every day to people just like you. A little preparation can help to reduce the stress and frustration of such disasters and go a long way toward getting your life back together.

Here are a few precautionary tips that will help you get things in order should you suffer an unexpected insurance loss:

1) Copy important documents such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce papers, passports, titles to motor vehicles, deeds, credit card account numbers with numbers to call if lost or destroyed, insurance policies and any other papers that would take a lot of time and trouble to get reissued. Place originals in a safe place away from the home, such as a safe deposit box, where you can retrieve them if needed.

2) Perform a home inventory of all your possessions including both attached and unattached home furnishings, appliances and electronics, furniture, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, etc. Take pictures of each room to help you provide proof of what you have. Keep this inventory and pictures in your safe deposit box with your important papers. Update this inventory at least once a year.

3) Be sure to keep your insurance policy number, agent’s phone number and any claim reporting number provided by your insurance company in a place you can find it easily.