September is National Preparedness Month. Disasters like wildfires, flash flooding, and severe weather don't plan ahead, but you can. We'll be talking all month about different ways you can prepare your family, home, business, and community. This week we are talking about preparing financially for a disaster.
- Download FEMA's Emergency Financial First Aid Kit and fill it out.
This will help you gather important documents like your ID card and social security card. It also gives you a place to write down the phone numbers and account numbers to your credit card companies, utility companies, insurance companies, and more.
- Find a safe place to store the kit and the documents you gathered.
It's a good idea to make a copy and store the copy and origional in separate places. If it is a digital copy, make sure it's password protected. If it's printed or on a thumb drive, make sure you store it in a waterproof and fireproof container.
- Make sure you understand your insurance options, and the extent of your coverage in case of a disaster.
Renters, homeowners, and auto insurance don't cover all aspects of a disaster. You may need to look into specialized coverage like wildfire or flood insurance. It takes 30 days for most flood insurance policies to go into effect. Don't wait until it's too late!
- Keep some cash on hand.
ATMs and credit card readers won't always be available. Cash can help pay for immediate expenses like lodging, food and gas. TIP: Keep a variety of small bills too. Businesses will not always be able to make change for large bills.
- Put a little money from each paycheck into a savings account.
According to the federal reserve, 40% of Americans don't have $400 in savings. Plan for how you will pay your bills during a disaster.