Being financially prepared for emergencies or natural disasters like we've seen with the recent hurricanes is about more than just having savings set aside. It's also about having access to important personal financial, medical and other records that can help you on the road to recovery.
FEMA's Four Simple Steps to Financial Preparedness
- Compile: Assemble your important documents and contacts.
- Review: Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current.
- Safeguard: Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations.
- Update: Revisit and update your Emergency Financial First Aid Kit on a regular schedule. Updates are especially important when certain changes in your life occur.
To find out if you are financially prepared, start by asking yourself these questions:
What's your bank account information? Do you know how to contact your mortgage company? Who are your insurance providers and what are the policy numbers for your homeowners, renters, or car insurance?
If you can't answer these questions, don't worry, you're not alone. Fortunately, there's help to get you prepared. The Ready.gov website offers resources, tips and guidance for financially preparing for the impact of an emergency. It also provides the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, a helpful resource developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Operation HOPE, to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies.
The kit provides fillable checklists for collecting and compiling important information, such as:
- Personal, family and household information like driver's license numbers, birth certificates and social security numbers.
- Financial and legal documentation including bank accounts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, credit cards, taxes, stocks and investments.
- Medical information like health insurance cards and accounts, medications taken, immunization records and any person-specific conditions or treatment information.
- Household contact information including landlords, doctors, schools, employers, community and worship leaders, contractors, lawyers, and insurance agents. You may also consider creating a communications plan for you and your family to stay in touch during an emergency.
Following these tips will help you and your family be better prepared to deal with the impact of any emergency or disaster.
Follow our 2017 Hurricane Help blog series, for important information that you need to get help.
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