Planning For The Unexpected
“My life changed forever on August 20, 2007” says Sheila Bradt, Comtech Fire’s former Vice President of Marketing and Member Relations. That’s the day an arsonist set fire to her back porch, burning down her house and leaving Sheila and her family with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. As devastating as the fire was, they were truly thankful that no one was hurt.
Coping with the whirlwind demands of an arson investigation was only the beginning of the many issues they were forced to confront. “I was in a state of shock at how quickly our expenses were escalating”. In addition to all of the regular bill payments including a mortgage on a home that no longer existed, paying for alternative accommodations and replacing day to day basic needs like clothes and beds made the cost almost unbearable”. After seven months, they’re still not back in their home. “Thank goodness we had an Equity Line of Credit - it’s been our financial lifeline.”
Sheila assumed, as would most of us, that when you have insurance the money would be forwarded as needed. However, that’s not how things worked out, “I learned the hard way how important it is to have access to ready cash in case of an emergency. “Of course, the responsiveness of insurance companies varies”, says Sheila. “it’s risky to count on your insurance company to provide all the support you will need”.
Sheila recommends that all homeowners have an Equity Line of Credit in place for just such an emergency. You need to plan for the unexpected, be it a fire, a critical illness or the loss of a job. For Sheila, the greatest benefit of having the Equity Line of Credit in place, was knowing she was in the driver’s seat and had full control of her financial situation and was not at the mercy of having to settle for something that was not in her best interest. “It’s wise to plan for the unexpected,” says Sheila. “you always read about this happening to someone else, I never expected something like this could happen to my family”.
Having an Equity Line of Credit in place gives you peace of mind, knowing that you’ve taken the right steps to prepare for the unexpected. An Equity Line of Credit gives you access to up to 80% of the value of your home, whenever you need it and at a preferred rate. A SmartStep, for every age and stage of your life.
Sheila Bradt was not insured with The Personal, the insurance company of choice for Bell employees.
Here Are Some More Emergency Planning Tips From Sheila:
- Invest in a small fire proof box and store special photos, passports, birth certificates, important papers including all insurance policies.
- Take a video or photograph of everything in your home, keep payment receipts for costly items and record the make and model of all appliances and electronics - store in a fire proof box or a safety deposit box.
- Review your insurance annually and make sure you have adequate insurance – it costs more money to rebuild a home than to build a new one. Inform your insurance company about renovations that affect the value of your home.
- Ask your insurance company about adding some “blanket coverage” to your home insurance policy for more flexible protection.
- Once you’ve paid off your mortgage keep your home insurance in place.
- Take out an Equity Line of Credit to the maximum allowable limit; you only pay interest on the utilized amount.
Regardless of life’s unexpected events, it’s important to have at least three months of saving on hand and or a line of credit if needed!