Preparing Financially for Hurricane SeasonJun 30, 2022 12:11PM ● By Carol Ann Aldridge
Warm temperatures, late afternoon showers, and high humidity—every Floridian’s favorite season is here again … and, no, we’re not talking about summer! We’re referring to the dreaded Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until November 30. This time of year, regardless of the forecast, it is important to be ready for any outcome. With that in mind, we have four tips to help keep you financially prepared. Whether you are a novice or an old pro, you’ll want to make sure these tips are part of your hurricane preparedness checklist.
Gather Personal Documents
It is vital to always keep important personal documents in a safe place, especially when a storm is approaching. This includes having both physical and digital records of birth certificates, passports, social security cards, wills, insurance policies and more. We recommend creating a secure and encrypted folder that is uploaded into the cloud for safekeeping. In the event the physical documents are damaged, this will reduce the chances of that information being lost forever.
Create a Hurricane Savings Account
Many families use health savings accounts (HSAs) to offset potential medical costs, so why not consider opening a secondary savings account in the event of a natural disaster? Funds in this type of account can be used to cover damage expenses or insurance deductibles in the event your home becomes impaired due to the weather. While you should already be contributing to an emergency savings account, the goal is to not exhaust those funds, so that when you do recover you still have a cushion for future emergencies.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
You never want to worry whether you’re covered in the event of a natural disaster. Knowing what policies you have in place ahead of time can put your mind at ease and allow you to update coverages depending on your needs. Be aware that flood and hurricane insurance are separate add-ons, so don’t assume you’re already covered with your standard policy. Remember, when updating and adding coverage, there may be a waiting period, so don’t delay in purchasing additional policies. Take this time to also review your deductibles and know how much you would need to pay upfront to file a claim.
Keep Cash Handy
While your money is much safer in a financial institution, with any storm, there is always a possibility of power outages. Without power, we lose access to ATMs and are unable to use credit and debit cards and, therefore, have no access to our funds. In the event you need to evacuate, having cash on hand can assist you until power has been restored.
Bottom Line: Stay Safe
We may not have control over the weather, but we do have control over how we prepare. Haven’t started preparing yet? Consider doing so now, as it is still early. Proper preparation can protect you, your family, your property and finances while mitigating damage. Being ill-prepared, however, could potentially cause recovery time to increase and cost you thousands.
Carol Ann Aldridge is a certified lending counselor for Alive Credit Union. For more information about Alive Credit Union, call 904-296-1292 or visit Alivecu.coop.