Taking Pictures Can Help Tulsans Replace Items Lost In Storms

Monday, March 10th 2014, 11:10 pm
By: Tess Maune

Our spring-like temperatures are a reminder that storm season is on the horizon. But many areas of the state are still rebuilding from last spring's killer tornadoes. Taking a little time now could save you thousands of dollars.

Replacing a home is one thing, replacing everything inside is another. Insurance companies don't automatically write you a check for your belongings, you have to have proof.

When it comes to tornadoes, it doesn't matter how much, or how little, we have, they don't discriminate, and many times they leave nothing behind.

"The things that bring back memories, that's probably what I would grab first," said Tulsa resident Amy Bracher.

This time of year is always a little unsettling for Bracher.

"Every spring season, I think about tornadoes and what could happen to our house and the destruction it could cause and I wouldn't be ready, Bracher said.

She lives in a historic Tulsa neighborhood, and what's inside her home is every bit as sentimental as the rich history of the house itself.

"These are family antiques and I may not know exactly the story behind it, but it means a lot because it was my grandmother's and it was in her house and I remember it," Bracher said.

And while the memories seem fresh now, Insurance Commissioner John Doak said in the aftermath of a disaster, they become as messy as the paths of damage.

"Looking up the hallway, you wouldn't necessarily remember all the things that were on the wall, if the structure's half here, or gone," Doak said.

The solution, he says, is simple.

"Take a video of your home, slowly going through the home, making sure you cover all the walls, all the knick-knacks, all the specialty items," Doak said.

He said take pictures, too. Keep receipts for your higher-priced items and have your jewelry and antiques appraised. And don't forget about things like holiday decorations, firearms, sporting goods, collectibles and even clothes.

"Taking pictures is so easy, it's just taking 5 to 10 minutes to walk around the house and take pictures," Bracher said.

The insurance department has a Home Inventory Checklist on its website. You can also get a flash drive from the department; it has the checklist and gives you the space to save all your pictures and video.

Doak also said you should consider giving a copy to your insurance agent, or send copies to yourself through email, which is accessible even if your computer is damaged.