Emergency Preparations: The Financial Side

Well, we’re smack in the middle of hurricane season and the storms have been coming fast and furious.  There has been a lot of talk about being prepared for natural disasters or other emergency situations.  Make sure that you include financial preparations on your to do list.

Things that you should do include:

  1. Make sure that you have access to cash.  Without power, ATM machines won’t work.  Bank branches may not be able to open.  Stores may not be able to take credit or debit cards.  Try to keep your cash in small denominations as it may be difficult to get change for large bills.
  2. Have important documents stored together and easy to carry.  A zip-top bag will help keep them dry.  Include copies of your driver’s license, passport(s), social security card, proof of residence (especially if you don’t live in the place listed on your driver’s license), insurance policies, tax records, etc.
  3. Update your household inventory, take pictures or videotapes, or make some other record of your stuff.  Even the inventory from your last move will work.
  4. Have appropriate and adequate insurance.  Renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, earthquake or flood insurance.  Understand what each policy does and does not cover.
  5. If you use a very local bank or credit union, consider keeping a small account elsewhere.

The Red Cross has a great page here.  It has a comprehensive list of all the steps you can take to be financially prepared for an emergency.  Other good sites include Ready.gov, 72hours.org, and the Are You Ready page at the FEMA website.  A few minutes preparing now will make your life a lot easier if an emergency situation arises.  Use these resources to create a plan that works for your situation, and then rest easier knowing that you are ready!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.