Owning a home is one of the great milestones in life and for most of us, our biggest investment. According to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders, 70 percent of their polling audience placed a high value on homeownership. What would you do to protect your home?

There are many ways you can ensure your investment is safe, whether from financial hardship or damage from natural disasters.

Here are our suggestions in honor of National Homeownership Month:

Start a Disaster Fund: Whether to pay for unexpected expenses if you fall into financial distress or to cover your insurance deductible after a storm, having a disaster fund or rainy day fund is a smart move. Work to save six months to one year worth of expenses. Doing so can keep you from using credit cards, building debt or putting your home at risk of foreclosure. Many states also offer Catastrophe Savings accounts, which provide tax deductions for saving money for your insurance deductibles or home repairs needed after a storm.

Shop Your Insurance: Having the right insurance and coverage can keep you from spending money out of pocket for stolen items, damage from natural disasters, and injuries that happen on your property. We suggest you shop for your insurance every few years to ensure you have the best coverage for your home and budget. Additionally, we recommend purchasing flood insurance even if you think you don’t need it. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), over 25 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) flood insurance claims are outside floodplains. Learn more on our Insurance Page.

Organize Your Documents: It’s not fun, yet organizing your insurance policies, financial statements, and other important documents is a logical way to ease your mind. When you need these items, the last thing you want to do is look for them, talk about stress. Keep original documents in a safe place where they're protected from damage and are easy to find. It’s also a good idea to save digital copies to a flash drive or other location, so you are prepared if paper documentation is lost. Being able to find your documents easily leaves you with less to worry about in a crisis. Use this handy checklist from our friends at SBP to get organized.

Get Your Roof Right: Your home’s first line of defense against the elements is your roof. Ironically, it’s your home’s weakest link too. A worn out, poorly installed, or damaged roof can allow rain to penetrate your home, ruining everything inside. If your roof is more than 15 years old, it probably needs to be replaced. When you re-roof, do it correctly and to a higher standard. Learn how at Don’t Goof When You Re-Roof.

Build a FORTIFIED HomeTM: Building to FORTIFIED Home standards protects your home from many different disasters like hurricanes, low-level tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and hail, depending on where you live. It’s affordable, verified, transferable and is shown to increase home values. FORTIFIED even qualifies for substantial insurance discounts in many states. Find out more or get started building your own FORTIFIED Home today.

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