Hurricane season begins June first, and if you live in an area prone to storms, it’s essential to prepare not only your home but also your finances. As many Floridians discovered last year with Hurricane Ian, a storm can cause considerable damage to property and disrupt daily life, making it crucial to take steps to protect your family, your property and your finances. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Organize Important Documents
It’s a good idea to gather your important financial documents, such as insurance policies, identification cards, and property deeds. Store them in a waterproof container and keep them in a location that’s easily accessible in case of an emergency.
Items to consider:
- Personal identification documents (e.g., passports, driver’s license)
- Insurance policies and contact information
- Property deeds and titles
- Financial account information (e.g., bank accounts, credit cards)
- Medical information
You may also want to consider making digital copies of these documents and store them in a secure cloud-based storage service. This way, you can access them from anywhere, even if you’re unable to return home after the storm.
Consider Digital Banking
If you aren’t signed up for online banking, it may be the right time to talk with your bank. Digital services will allow you to access and manage your finances from anywhere, even if you are unable to physically go to the bank or ATM due to the hurricane. With digital banking, you can check your account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, and deposit checks using your smartphone or computer.
Withdraw Cash Before the Storm Hits
Power outages and network disruptions can make it challenging to access cash during and after a hurricane. Withdraw enough cash to cover your expenses for a few days before the storm. Keep the cash in a secure location.
Set up an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund can be immensely helpful to help cover unexpected expenses. Ideally, you should start saving in the months prior to storm season. Consider opening a separate savings account so you can add to it year-round. You can then use this account to pay for repairs, temporary lodging, and other hurricane-related expenses.
Review Insurance Coverage
This may be the most important and confusing step prior to a storm. You will want to your insurance policies to ensure you have adequate coverage for your property. Check if your policy covers hurricane damage, flood damage, and wind damage. If you’re not sure, contact your insurance provider to clarify your coverage.
Protect Your Property
Take steps to protect your property from hurricane damage. Trim trees and bushes, secure loose objects, and make sure the storm drains are cleared in your neighborhood. At the beginning of storm season, you should also make sure your hurricane shutters are accessible and in order, so application is easier when a storm is in the forecast.
By following these steps, you will be more prepared and hopefully can minimize the disruption if a hurricane hits. Remember to stay safe, stay informed and be well-prepared. Download our Hurricane Guide Checklist here.