By Tony Delane, CFP®, AIF®, Associate Wealth Advisor

As you know, we discuss and review your Home, Auto, Umbrella, and other property insurances with you on a regular basis. Advising you on protections against catastrophic loss—and helping ensure that your insurance is current and makes sense for your life circumstances—is an integral part of our risk management approach.

In this article we’re taking some of that advice a step further. You could call these “non-financial” considerations, but ultimately, they could pose significant costs. The suggestions that follow have your security and safety in mind. They might reduce the need for you to file insurance claims, or make it easier for you to do so if the need arises.

Purchase and Install a Dash Cam to Ease Car Insurance Claims

A high-quality dash cam installed on your vehicle solves a classic problem: What happens if there is an incident while driving, and no witnesses are available to back you up? Or worse, an incident where the other party is trying to fraudulently blame you for something that happened? Even if it’s completely unavoidable or the fault of the other party, without any evidence the insurance companies will have a hard time determining who’s wrong.

Modern dash cams are cheap (starting around $100) and simple to install. They are virtually maintenance-free and will record as soon as you start driving. The camera is plugged into the car itself, so power is not an issue. And the memory card is automatically overwritten so you don’t need to worry about storage. Some models will automatically lock the footage and flag it if they detect an impact. And some high-end models will even record for a time while you are parked.

So for example, if you stop at the grocery store and somebody backs into your car while you’re shopping, the camera may be able to pick up what happened. We think it makes sense to purchase and install a dash cam for every vehicle you own.

Make a Home Video Walkthrough for Home Insurance Claims

This tip requires a little more up-front effort, but we think it’s well worth the time. Think about what would happen if your home was lost in a fire. When it comes time to piece everything back together, would you be able to make an accurate list of everything you own? Big things, like furniture, electronics, and appliances, sure – but what about the small stuff?

Especially during a time of major grief, we don’t want anything to be missed. Our recommendation is to take a walkthrough video of your home. Start recording at the front door, and take your time to go through each room – pointing the camera at various things like closets, open drawers, and of course the bigger and more valuable items. Write down or zoom in on model numbers and any detail that might be helpful.

You could break the video up into multiple clips or keep it in one large file. We’d suggest keeping a copy of the video locally on a phone or computer, and another copy somewhere secure like a cloud drive or even your HH Vault.

Take These Small Steps to Reduce Risk in Your Home—and Car

It’s easy to say, but harder to pull off. Our lives are so busy with other things that some areas may be ignored or postponed. We would encourage you to take a step back and examine what risk factors in your life can be reduced or eliminated. It’s always better to get ahead of any potential liability.

Here are some examples:

  • Periodically clear brush and other flammable material near your home.
  • Make sure gutters and other drains are clear of debris.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready to go—at least in your kitchen.
  • Double check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning—and review this periodically.
  • Keep the walkways clear around your home, and attend to any cracks in the concrete or areas where you or guests could trip.
  • In the same vein, make sure the wood on porches and decks doesn’t have any protruding areas.
  • Keep your car(s) in good functioning condition. Check periodically to make sure your tires are appropriate for the climate and have adequate tread.


We hope these tips are helpful to you. Please connect with your HH advisor if you would like specific recommendations on the dash camera or any other topic covered by this article.


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant.