You can never truly be prepared for the unexpected, such as a natural disaster. However, technology today has afforded us the advanced warning systems to help us better protect ourselves and our family when facing imminent danger from storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
When it comes to your money, it takes more than a few hours of prep time to ensure you have what you need during an emergency situation. Americans have certainly experienced weather-related disasters, including Hurricane Sandy that devastated parts of the East Coast, including New York City late last year. Individuals need to take heed of the information and resources available to prepare for the worst.
Long Before a Disaster
It will be important to prepare for what may come, even if the disaster isn’t as bad as the media predicts. If you live in a flood-prone area you may already be required to have coverage for flood insurance on your home.
If you don’t live in a flood zone, you may still consider coverage just in case your property is damaged or lost during a natural disaster. Flood insurance is separate than other types of homeowner insurance so make sure to contact your agent to learn more about additional coverage you may need. For those who do not own their own home, invest in renters insurance. It is fairly inexpensive, but can become invaluable if disaster strikes.
You also need to get your financial life organized at home and beyond. Your financial paperwork is just as important as the supplies in your emergency kit.
Gather important paperwork concerning your financial life, which may include copies of the following:
- Mortgage documents or rental agreements
- Homeowners, renters and car insurance policies
- Tax records
- Financial statements and account numbers
- Drivers license/passport
- Social Security card
- Copies of your will
- The titles to your vehicles and home
- Copies of prescriptions for medications
You should keep this documentation in a “safe place.” If this safe place is in your home, you may want to reconsider other options, such as a safe deposit box.
Banks can rent a safe deposit box where copies of your most important documents are kept. You should also have pictures/videos of your valuables, insurance paperwork, financial documents kept in a location outside of your home.
Keep both paper and electronic copies of what you have. In the event you lose your home such as in a tornado, you’ll still be able to access your important documents. (Continued on page 2)