Having experienced a house fire which was declared a total loss, I have a few tips for making the experience less frustrating.
Be sure you have enough coverage, which includes total replacement cost. Keep a copy of your policy in safe deposit box. Also take a video or pictures of your contents and put them with a friend or in a safety deposit box. If you put them on disc or computer, keep a copy in a place that you can grab in a hurry.
Be sure all contact numbers are in your cell phone and keep it near you, (in case you have to leave in a hurry). You can enter one person as ICE,(someone to call in case of emergency). Keep a couple of hundred dollar bills in a hidden pocket in purse or wallet, that you will grab when you leave the house.
Be sure all family members know an exit plan and what to grab if there is time. We only had a couple of minutes after I smelled the smoke, but I got both kids out the front door before it exploded. We were in bed so only had our night clothes. Neighbors were very helpful, had already called for help and the fire department came quickly, although it seemed like a long time, as it was 2 in the morning.
By ruthvalleygal from Harlingen, TX