Just last month, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina causing an estimated $38 billion in damage. In 2017 alone, natural disasters resulted in a total of $306 billion in damages across the United States. While safety is an obvious concern during any natural disaster, many underestimate the financial burden that will follow. Here are some financial steps to take today to prepare for a natural disaster.
Assess your insurance coverage
Insurance can be vastly underappreciated until it’s finally needed. Unfortunately, once the unexpected does occur, it’ll be far too late to add coverage. Take some time to review your current policy coverage and don’t hesitate to reach out to your agent with questions. Some of the most frequent damage in coastal natural disasters such as ground movement, wind, and flooding, isn’t covered by most standard homeowner policies.
Maintain proper records
Alongside proper insurance coverage, you should maintain proof of ownership of your key possessions. Keeping receipts of major purchases is always a best practice, but credit card statements can serve as a backup in most cases.
Taking photos or video throughout the interior and exterior of your home can help provide further proof of ownership and can also be used when making claims on damages. High ticket items such as artwork, jewelry, electronics, and furniture should be well documented.
Go digital when possible
Though paperwork continues to become a thing of the past, consider what may happen in the event of a mail interruption after a major natural disaster. Important items such as paychecks, Social Security benefits, mortgage payments, and utility bills could be inaccessible for weeks.
Many payments can be set to be paid automatically and direct deposit sends income directly to your account, allowing you to focus on recovering instead of tying up loose ends.
Keep emergency cash on hand
Natural disasters often bring widespread power outages that can limit your ability to get cash from an ATM, and limit stores’ abilities to process credit card payments. Keeping an emergency reserve of cash on hand ensures you can make essential purchases. Be sure to have a variety of bill denominations as some stores may be unable to change larger bills.