Mom and kids putting an emergency kit together

Prepare Your Home for the Unexpected

By Carrie Skogsberg

Reviewed by John Butkus, Director, Property Claims

No matter where you live, you’re likely to experience severe weather or other unexpected dangers. Whether it’s thunderstorms and tornadoes or drought and wildfires, being prepared is the  first step to staying safe and protecting your property.

Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Build your emergency kit and show your family where it is

This is one of those things we all say we should do, but too few of us take the time put it together. It’s easy when you know what to include. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend including the following in your emergency kit:

  • A battery-operated flashlight and NOAA Weather Radio (and extra batteries for each)
  • An emergency evacuation and shelter plan, including a map of your home
  • A list of important personal information, like:
    • Telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
    • Insurance and property information (we make that info available on the COUNTRY Financial mobile app)
    • Telephone numbers of utility companies
    • Medical information
  • A first-aid kit
  • A three-to-five-day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • A separate emergency kit for your car

You can find more tips from the CDC.

2. Meet with your insurance agent at least once a year

According to John Butkus, Director, Property Claims at COUNTRY, “Your insurance agent can help you identify gaps in coverage that could surprise you at claim time and make sure you have enough coverage to repair, or if necessary, rebuild your home.”

Check out COUNTRY Financial’s Home Insurance 101 explainer to answer all your home insurance questions, like:

  • What does home insurance cover?
  • What is not covered by home insurance?
  • Do I need additional coverage like sump pump failure?
  • How can I be sure I’m covered for a home insurance claim?

Contact your COUNTRY Financial Insurance Agent to learn more.

3. Complete a home inventory of your belongings

“Having a home inventory on file can ease the home insurance claim process so you won’t have to remember all of your belongings if they are damaged,” said Butkus.

The easiest way to take a home inventory is to create a video! No professional video experience is needed, and you can do one in 10 minutes or less.

4. Don't forget about regular home maintenance

“Staying on top of home maintenance can go a long way to prevent home insurance claims,” said Butkus. Keep your trees trimmed, don’t forget to clean out those gutters and always keep an eye on the age and condition of your roof. Check out our spring home maintenance checklist and our winter home maintenance checklist for an easy guide. 


Updated 8-21-23

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COUNTRY Financial® is a family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY) located in Bloomington, IL. Learn more about who we are.

COUNTRY Financial® is the marketing name for the COUNTRY Financial family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY), which include COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, IL.

Home policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company® , COUNTRY Casualty Insurance Company® or COUNTRY Preferred Insurance Company® , Bloomington, IL.