Hurricane Preparation: Financial Checklist
Hurricane season is in full swing.Every year, homeowners rush to hardware stores to gather sandbags and wooden panels while they wait for the cone of uncertainty, but financial preparation is often forgotten. Whether you choose to shelter in place and ride out the storm or evacuate to a safer location, we have created a financial checklist that will allow you to focus more on your family’s safety and less on your finances during that critical time leading up to the storm.
Financial preparation for a hurricane begins before a storm is forecasted to make landfall – the time to start is now. While you certainly cannot control mother nature, you can proactively prepare for her aftermath.
Regardless if you are a homeowner or renter, do not forget to contact your insurance agent to ensure you are adequately insured. You might need to adjust your policy to include additional coverage for wind, flood, or other hurricane damage.
Review your insurance coverage
Budget to build an emergency fundOne of the most crucial aspects of preparing for a hurricane, or any natural disaster, is to build up your emergency fund. You can use it for any unexpected financial event, not just natural disasters. Ideally, you should aim to have between three to six months of living expenses kept in a separate savings account. If a hurricane were to damage your home, having money set aside can help bridge cash gaps while you are waiting for an insurance payout to arrive.
Have Cash on HandWhen a hurricane makes landfall, power outages are likely. If the power is out, your credit/debit cards will not be of use to you. Banks might be closed and ATMs out of service; therefore, having cash on hand can be very beneficial. It’s important to store the money in a safe place, like a waterproof box or safe, if you have it. Do not forget to grab the cash, should you need to evacuate your home.
Enroll in Digital BankingWhen disaster strikes, you don’t have to worry about getting to the bank to access your account(s) if you are enrolled in digital banking. Online and mobile banking lets you conveniently access your account(s) anytime, anywhere.
Sign Up To Receive Your Benefits Electronically
If you receive social security benefits but haven’t elected to receive your benefits electronically via direct deposit, now is the time to do so. Natural disasters can interrupt the postal system and cause your mail to be delayed by days or weeks. If you depend on social security or other regular benefits, it is crucial you receive your funds when expected – make the switch today.
Hurricanes are an inevitable aspect of living in the coastal southeast region. However, preparation can help you build financial resilience and keep your budget intact. If you have not started contributing to an emergency fund, a banker at any of our locations can help you get started today.
About the Author, Renee Douglas: Renee Douglas has 25 plus years in the financial institutions industry including auditing privately held and publicly traded companies. As Director of Mortgage Risk and Business Controls in conjunction with the first line of defense, she oversees the operational risks associated with residential lending including audits, quality control, and compliance.