Monday, July 27, 2009

Storm Safety for Your Data

If you plan to evacuate, be ready to take all your important papers -- such as mortgage, insurance, identification and documents. If your home is flooded or washed away, those documents could be damaged or lost. Having them with you will help expedite filing claims and receiving benefits.

If you have a camera or camcorder, take photos of your home before the storm. Show your prep work, like how your windows are protected, so you can prove you took steps to protect your property. Also take photos of the home's contents to help prove loss or damage. Be sure to take the photos and video with you.

If you have a lot of important data on your computer, anything from your family photos to that novel you've been working on for three years, consider an offsite back up. Companies like Carbonite will let you store unlimited amounts of data for about $55 a year, and it's encrypted for security. That's not something to do at the last minute, because it could take hours or even days, depending on your connection speed, for your entire hard drive to upload. Until midnight on July 28, 2009, you can enter for a free year of Carbonite service over at MommyPR.

Another option is to buy an external hard drive that's large enough to back up everything on your computer. Don't forget to pack it before you leave.

The time to think about what you'll take with you is before you're panicked with a storm bearing down on you. Make your list today. Tack it up to a bulletin board or tape it to the fridge and add to it every time you think of something important. Wedding photos. Heirloom jewelry. The irreplaceable mementos of life and family. You may have to pare down your list to fit everything in the car, but maybe you can avoid the thought, 200 miles down the road, that you've left something valuable behind because you just didn't think of it.

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