Living on the east coast means being prepared for any natural disasters that might arise. On August 31, Hurricane Florence formed and the east coast was anxiously awaiting to see where Florence would attack and the impending damage that the hurricane would leave behind. The Washington Post reported Florence had flooded several areas in the Carolinas, caused 686,000 power outages and displaced numerous families. It is impossible to predict the impact of natural disasters or when they might occur which is why it is essential to be financially prepared in emergency situations.
Make a list. When natural disasters hit, the financial impact may be just as detrimental as the emotional impact if someone is not prepared. Items, both replaceable and irreplaceable, might get damaged so it is important to have a list prepared that consists of the items that would need to be replaced such as vehicles, furniture, electronics, appliances, jewelry, collectibles and even clothes. This list will become important so that individuals can get the proper insurance coverage for the items that need to be protected. Protecting and insuring items ensures that, if a natural disaster occurs, those impacted by the storm will not have to replace all of the essential items out of pocket.
Get protected. As previously mentioned, it is important to get the proper insurance coverage that will protect the items that are not easily replaced out of pocket. It is also important to purchase property insurance; renter’s insurance if renting an apartment and homeowner’s insurance if the individual owns the house. Also, depending on one’s residence, it is important to purchase additional policies such as earthquake insurance or flood insurance if these natural disasters are more likely to occur based on location. Adding these additional measures ensures coverage for items that will need to be replaced. For instance, if a hurricane floods one’s beach house but they do not have flood insurance or homeowner’s insurance, they will have to pay for the damages to their house and pay for the items lost out of pocket.
Have cash readily available. Oftentimes power will go out during a natural disaster and the local bank or ATM will be inaccessible so if a storm is approaching, it is important that cash is accessible. Throughout the year, individuals should be depositing money into a separate savings account designated for emergencies such as unemployment or the car unexpectedly breaking down. In this savings account, it is important to save up to 3-6 months total expenses. In the event of a natural disaster, this money can be withdrawn to have access to cash that can be utilized for food, water or shelter.
While it may not seem like natural disasters will happen to us, it is important to be prepared just in case. If pushed off for too long, an individual may lose everything and the financial burden of replacing all of their items can be substantial. Taking these small steps to get the ducks in a row will help prevent any unnecessary financial stressors in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Florence.