We are now headed into hurricane season. And while many may be preparing their homes and other property to ensure it is hurricane proof, it is important to ensure your finances are ready as well. Here are a few tips to prepare financially for hurricanes and other natural disasters.
#1 Review your insurances
This is a great time to review your insurance coverage to ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect against threats your property may be vulnerable to. Particularly focus on three items:
o Review your deductibles to ensure it is affordable. Also, it is important to review not only your regular deductible but your hurricane deductible as well.
o Know what your insurance policy actually covers? Are you protected against tornadoes or hurricanes?
o Determine if you require additional insurance for items such as antiques, jewelry, or firearms? Standard policies may not cover these items so make certain if needed, you obtain the additional insurance that is needed.
#2 Make a “To Go” System
Using a simple accordion folder, create tabs using a checklist for important financial documents that may be necessary in case of an evacuation order. Your folder should include the following items:
- Insurance documents
- Titles and deeds
- Birth certificates and social security cards
- Photographs of personal property
- Tax returns
- Irreplaceable items (pictures, rare coins or currency, etc.)
Also, keep in mind, it is important if you are a self-employed individual that you are filing your personal tax returns and reporting your business income. Oftentimes after a disaster, many government agencies and organizations require these documents when applying for disaster financial assistance.
#3 Keep Cash on Hand
Quite often you may hear, save some cash in case of a disaster. But, I am here to tell you not only save cash but keep cash on hand. I can recall during Hurricane Katrina how difficult it was to access funds from ATMs. Since I banked locally, not only was I out of pocket, but my financial institution was as well! So make certain you take some cash when you evacuate. It can go a mighty long way.
Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and owner of Washington CPA Services, LLC. She often contributes to the news and many financial media outlets. Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.