Get an Advance!

If you were forced to evacuate your home, you might not have grabbed basic necessities — from a toothbrush to clothes that you can wear to work. Your homeowners’ policy will cover the cost to replace these items, but you don’t have to file a claim and have it approved before heading to a department store to purchase that suit you need for the office.

Instead, ask your company for an advance against your eventual claim. Ask a representative of the company to bring a check to you wherever you’re staying, be it a hotel or a friend’s house. Save the receipts for everything you buy, and be reasonable — if you lost khakis and a blazer, don’t head for the Armani suits (you’ll end up paying the difference).

Check your policy — even if you have “replacement” coverage for the house itself (see Tip Six, below), you may have only “actual cash value” for the personal items that were in your home. A good agent will alert you to this and suggest buying an endorsement so that your contents will be covered under a replacement policy, too.