November 8, 2011

PSA - Insurance, Obsessions, and losses OH MY!

THIS IS A LONG RAMBLING POST - I needed to clear my soul of the cobwebs

As you know my daughters, their significant others (The Nicks) and my grandchildren all lost their home and all of their belongings in a house fire back in July. I can't state enough how VERY thankful we are that no one was injured. Yes we know that "things" can be replaced but many "things" can't.  What I want to share with you is some lessons we have since learned.
(To read the story of this flag see my original post)
Bear with me as I give you a little background information -
As you may or may not know, I used to be a professional photographer. Back in the day of FILM photography even had a photography studio and one hour film processing. Then medical school came along and the photography fell by the wayside but not my appreciation (re:obsession) for excellent equipment. Photography and creativity is a family affair. My mother is a designer in the crafting industry and my daughter Kori has slowly been turning her passion for photography into a business since my grandson Ethan has been born.  She also has a passion for excellent equipment. I jumped back into the photography craze in 2006 as well this time learning the digital realm. I am not a professional now in that I don't make any money with my photography. I just take photos of my craft stuff, nature and the grand kids and I volunteer my services to foster children looking for their forever families and to grieved parents of stillborns. Kori doesn't make a living with her work YET, but she has a good eye and a great love for photographing children and babies. As Kori upgraded her equipment, I was able to buy her "discards" from her at competitive pricing, as well as amass some of my own "glass" Here is where my "obsession" took over - I always had to have the latest and greatest Nikon body and it seemed Kori and I were always enabling each other with our latest purchases. In July I was able to purchase the grandaddy of all Nikon's in a DX3!! 24.5MILLION mega-pixels! As soon as that baby arrived I loaded it along with my other (now back-up) bodies and my favorite lenses and headed to my daughters for a mini vacation to try out my new toy in her beautiful surroundings. This was also the trip that I got to bring my grandson HOME with me without his mama! Dude is NOT a light traveler and since this was his first time away from momma overnight (except when Bentley was born) we wanted to make sure he had everything he "needed" After getting about an hour away from my daughter's I realized OOPS, left all my camera equipment at my daughters. Oh well, I wouldn't have time to play with it anyway since I was sure Ethan was going to keep me very busy. As it turned out we met at the halfway point to have lunch and get him back to his momma and I didn't get back to their house until a couple weeks later (after the fire)

Friday July 22nd, I called my insurance company to ask about renters insurance for my son. He is affected with Aspergers and we were just thinking that if anything were to happen, like say a FIRE, (yes I actually used those words when talking to my husband about this that morning) then he would have a tough time replacing things. We knew he couldn't get insurance himself being on  a very fixed income and I wasn't sure if you could get that kind of insurance on someonelse's behalf. My insurance agent and his staff is WONDERFUL...very helpful and is always able answer any questions I have. They never act put out by my inquiries either. They got right on it after answering all of my questions and had a policy ready for me to sign and in my inbox by the close of business that day.

Saturday July 23rd  - I get a frantic call from my daughter (several actually as I was not near my phone). Their house was on fire and is mostly consumed but she wanted me to know everyone got out. Of course my immediate concern was for them.  I am so very thankful for that and I can't express that enough and realize this post may seem self serving in spite of my desire to be HELPFUL

Several days later it dawned on me that not only did my daughters lose everything, some of MY things were in their home as well. Like MY BRAND NEW DX3 and my most used and favored lenses, filters, bags etc etc etc. I also started to think about the things I had loaned my kids or left at their house thinking I would "get it later" - a fetal doppler to use when she was pregnant, the extra car seat I took out of my car once the fosters left, my favorite sunnies. Well you can bet your bippy that come Monday morning I was right in the insurance agents office getting that renters insurance for my son! Talk about a weird premonition!! While there I asked about my own insurance and covering MY things that were lost in the fire. I have to tell you that didn't (and still doesn't) feel good. My children were severely under insured and I knew they weren't going to be able to replace most of the basics so why was I worried about some darn camera equipment?  They didn't have a change of clothing or clean unders for Pete's sake! Well folks, the truth of the matter is no matter how much you may think these things won't happen to you or your family, I am here to tell you that they CAN! This is the very reason you carry insurance.

So here are the lessons I promised you were coming -
 - GET INSURANCE! If you rent, get renter's insurance!
 - Make sure you have ENOUGH! - Sit down with a pencil and paper and figure out ROOM by ROOM what you have and what it would cost you to replace it. Take pictures!
 - READ YOUR POLICY! Did you know if your "personal property" is used in a business, you can't claim it in case of loss? You need a separate policy for business items.
 - GO OVER your policies with your agent. ASK QUESTIONS!
 - If you don't have an insurance agent, send me a PM, I will do the legwork and FIND YOU a good one in your area
 - If you buy expensive items from family members or friends, ask for their original receipts and just have them sign and date them when you take over ownership.
 - Keep your receipts in a FIREPROOF safe along with your important papers and BACKUP of all your digital media. You know that beautiful external zip drive you were so proud of yourself for buying and using? Store it in a FIREPROOF SAFE!
 - Consider using remote storage. I hadn't even downloaded any of the pictures I took with my new camera but my daughter lost EVERYTHING except what was stored in their safe.
 - If you have firearms and store them in a safe, is it also WATERPROOF?

Now here is my own personal lessons -
I don't know WHY I thought I needed to have the latest and greatest of everything. Take the camera equipment for example, it isn't like I am some big shot photographer. Today as they announced a new Nook tablet and I looked over at my husband and said "I NEED THAT!" it dawned on me that Noooo, I really don't "need" that. I just got a Nook Color last year for my birthday. If you saw my craft room you would see that I have every latest and greatest crafting tools, most unused. My car is 4 years old and to me it is "ancient" and I am whining to my husband that we need to trade it in for a NEW one. I am so busy acquiring the latest and greatest "things" that I am not enjoying life in the moment. It is a race to be the first one in my circle to get X, Y or Z.  I need to learn when enough is enough. I am obsessive, I realize this as I look around my crafting room and see the HUNDREDS of cartridges, the MANY crafting machines, the thousands of dollars in "had to have it" items and I think about my daughters... one who is upset because she doesn't have her favorite coat, another because she lost her baby blanket and all evidence of her own children's baby years. I think about all the children who don't have a safe place which to lay their heads tonight, or food in their tummies. People affected by acts of violence or natural disasters... the list goes on and on.

I think in the spirit of Thanksgiving this month and from this point on, I am going to try and see the bigger picture and not feel like I have to "have it all" I am going to be HAPPY that I was unable to sell my D200 and D300 bodies and a few odd lenses so that my daughter could now have one of her old cameras back (no I didn't sell it back to her, I GAVE it back to her) and I still have a VERY NICE camera. Oh sure it isn't the latest or greatest, but it will suit my needs just fine. I am going to try VERY HARD to be in the here and now and savor every moment of all that I am fortunate enough to have and share with others.  IF I get so lucky to have my insurance reimburse me for some of my loss, I am NOT going to rush out and buy the latest and greatest anything...instead I am going to make sure some people do have some warm winters coats, a safe place to lay their heads and some food in their tummies, even if it is just for one night and one meal.

Thank you all for being my followers and reading through life's trials and tribulations with me. Thank you for your honesty and support and most of all THANK YOU for allowing me to be human and forgiving me for it too :)


  1. Kymborlee~

    This touched my heart to the core! first Your open honesty, and second the content was RIGHT ON! Thanks for sharing and putting us all back onto what really matters in this life!

    Like I've said before, I don t know you very well but I do know that you are one of the most amazing people I know!


  2. Your honesty was refreshing & I loved reading how the fire affected not just the kids, but you as well. It's so important to have insurance.


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