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  Home Insurance News  
  by Cindy Parroné |  

Homeowner’s insurance was designed to protect the property owner’s investment from the damage Mother Nature can bring such as lightning, wind, hail, freezing pipes and the weight of ice and snow among other things. The volatile weather in Illinois exposes homeowners to many perils throughout the year. Much publicity has been given to the need for crisis planning for individuals and families, also it is a good idea to include your animal family members in your crisis plan. If it isn’t a safe situation for you, it is not a safe situation for your pets.

In your disaster planning, you should have a safe place within the home as well as a safe place away from home, and you should keep your pets with you if at all possible. That may entail bringing outdoor pets inside to your basement or interior room without windows. If you need to leave your home to seek safety, you should have carriers ready for small animals and leashes for larger pets. All pets should have collars with current identification tags in case of separation. An additional safeguard could include an animal card and document. The animal card is something you would create to carry in your wallet. The card should include the type of animal, pet’s name, home address, any special care instructions and an emergency contact person’s details (for someone other than you that could access the animal in an emergency).  A photo of you with the pet would enhance proof of ownership. The animal document would have the same information as the card, but it would be stored with your estate planning information.

Just as you should have an emergency supply kit for yourself and your family, you need a kit for your pets too. Three days worth of water and dry food in an airtight,  waterproof container along with any daily medications ought to be packed and ready to go. Litter, pee pads, paper towels, plastic bags and bleach would be helpful in tending to your pets’ sanitary needs. An animal first aid kit would also be beneficial. Some experts suggest packing some familiar toys for the animals to reduce their stress.

In a worst case scenario, if something happens to you such that you are no longer able to care for your animals, an estate plan that includes your pets is a great idea. Just as you would appoint a guardian for your dependent children, you need to provide one for your animals along with some funds for their care. The ASPCA found that between five and seven million animals in the U.S. per year end up in a shelter because the pet’s primary caregiver either died or suffered a disability that would not allow them to continue to care for their animals. Of these, between three to four million pets are euthanized because a good home can’t be found for them. Include your pets in your will. You can go online to a do-it-yourself legal site to set up a trust for your pet for a fee of about $25.

One of the lessons we should have learned from Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina is that insurance can fix property, but only you can protect yourself and your pets!


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