Insurance is one of those things you never think about until you need it – NOW!
Here are some easy ways to keep your insurance numbers, contacts and information at your fingertips whenever and wherever you need it. Unless you’re purchasing a new insurance policy, the only time you think about your card, policy number or the name of your agent is when you need file a claim or take yourself or your kid to the emergency room. That means the only time you think about your insurance is when you’re in crisis mode and when you’re the least likely to remember where you put it. The good news is that your Financial & Insurance Information Sheet is just sitting there, waiting to absorb all of your insurance information and keep it safe for you until you need it. Download a copy of the form or if you have our book Get Your Stuff Together, you’ll find a copy in the back of the book. Let’s go over the type of information that you need to have to deal with most normal insurance situations.
Medical Insurance Information
For medical insurance, all of the information your hospital or your doctors needs is right on the card. When you hand that card to your friendly hospital admission clerk, your work is done, and you can get back to the business of getting the medical treatment you need.
Instead of keeping your medical insurance cards in your wallet, where they can become lost or stolen, keep them at home in a safe place that you can easily reach. If you have different cards for different family members, keep them together so you’re not running all over the house to find the one card you need for a midnight trip to the emergency room.
Take the time to scan your insurance cards or make copies of them and save them to a secure online file, password protected family web site, or a safe deposit box. That way if you need to send a copy of an insurance card to the emergency room where a loved one has been taken, you can simply retrieve it and email it, without even having to stop at home on the way to the hospital.
Caution: if your insurance company puts your social security number on the card, like they do for a large percentage of Medicare patients, do not take the card out of the house unless you’re going directly to the doctor and directly back home. Leaving that number in your wallet is just asking for trouble.
Home Owner’s Insurance
The good news is that, according to our friends at State Farm, you really don’t need to have that much information about your insurance policy to begin the claims process. Whether you have a small claim (golf club through the window) or a large one (a tornado just struck the entire block), all you need to have at your fingertips is the name of your insurance company, the policy number and ideally the name and phone number of your agent. Depending on your insurance agent, you might not even need that. When we spoke with State Farm, we heard an incredible story of strength and commitment demonstrated by one agent in Joplin, Missouri. Right after the enormous tornado struck Joplin, devastating not only homes and businesses, one State Farm agent found himself without a home. He was relieved to find his office still standing, so he decided that he would just have to live in his office until he was able to find housing. Minutes after he walked in the door, his customers began walking in. Dazed and now homeless, each customer needed more care and attention than he did. They didn’t even have a place to lay their heads. So the agent decided to open his office to any of his clients who needed a place to stay. In the days that followed, he began the claims process with his clients, which wasn’t easy. Joplin still didn’t have electricity, and between his own paperwork, his computer and his direct line to State Farm headquarters, the agent began piecing everything together, neighbor by neighbor, getting them and himself on the road to recovery.
That’s another great reason to have all of your insurance cards scanned/copied, along with your Grab It and Go Vital Information Form, detailing all of your policy numbers, agent’s names, contacts, emergency numbers and copies of any documentation, like proof of insurance, stored at home and in at least two other locations.
No matter what type of insurance coverage you have, that’s all you’ll need to fill out a police report or to get the ball rolling on repairs or restoration.
Gather all of the insurance information you have in the house for each member of your family and let’s get started.
1. Calling All Insurance…
Our mission for this exercise is to gather all of the insurance information you have in the house for each member of your family.
First grab a pencil and paper and jot down the types of insurance you currently have. This probably includes home owners or renters insurance, car insurance, life insurance, disability or long term health insurance and medical insurance. Put aside your Medical Insurance information for now. And when you’re ready to take care of it, be sure to read our Blog Post on Creating Your Medical History.
2. Grab Your Flashlight. This Might Get Ugly…
Using the list you just compiled, locate and gather all of the insurance cards and information and you can find for each type of insurance you, your spouse , your children and any other adults that are living in your home, currently have.
3. Document, Document, Document.
Let’s document the information that you’ve found. Grab a copy of our Grab It & Go Financial Form, or if you have our book Get Your Stuff Together, you’ll find a copy in the back of the book. Complete a copy of the form for each person, using all of the information you’ve located for each insurance policy. Then save it or print it and put it to the side.
4. Ensuring You Found Everything That Is Insured
Do you have any other information, that you would need to demonstrate proof of insurance, or the current condition of your home or vehicles?
Scan or make copies of all of your insurance cards and place them in a special folder on your computer desktop.
Will you need a copy of the actual policy or certificate of insurance? If so, include them along with your documents in the next step.
While we’re at it, we have something else you should check out. Have you completed your home inventory including photos or videos of your valued possessions? If not, when you’re through document your insurance information, click on the link so that you can learn how to document the current condition of your home or car before the damage occurred. Then once you’ve completed the inventory, you can note on this form where those photos and documents are located for easy retrieval, in case you ever have an insurance claim.
Want a copy of these instructions for later? Click Here to download the PDF version.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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