“The rains are back!” this statement conjures joy and trepidation in the hearts of many. Why the mixed reaction? For the farmers, it promises a bounty harvest. But for city dwellers, there is that constant fear of flooding. For the former, environmentalist will quickly advice; prepare for the worst. By getting ready your emergency “go-bag”, water, flashlights, drugs, and other supplies. Let’s take a few minutes to consider one, vital but often neglected, need in an emergency.
While getting your basic supplies in place if the need for an evacuation arises, remember some important financial papers would be vital to take along at this point. Since you may have a little window of time to get these things together, here are suggested steps to being financially disaster-ready.
Get insurance covers for your valued possessions:
Disaster can strike suddenly, leaving a huge loss of property and assets in its aftermath. You don’t want to lose your possessions that way. For this singular reason, you want to get them protected against unforeseen loss to disaster. Get to know the different insurance policies you can get out there. And their benefits ever before a disaster strikes. Be sure to get an insurance cover that will pay for the eventualities you have in mind.
Maintain an updated file of vital documents
An emergency situation is always chaotic, it will be very difficult to remember all the things you have and where vital documents are. Now is the time to go round the house and take inventory of all your belongings. Don’t just record what you have, also collect receipt where available, and photograph things belongings. This will make your filing for insurance claim fluid.
Keep and backup copies of your documents and file
As a rule of thumb, make at least three copies of all your important documents, in two formats (paper, photographs, DVD, hard-drive or remote storage like the cloud). Remember to keep one copy off-site, advisable some distance way, if possible in another state or region.
Care for original documents
Original copies of your documents (Birth, death, and marriage certificates, international passports, driver’s license, property papers, share certificates, insurance certificates, trust agreements, and power of Attorney) are far more important. If you must store them in the house, ensure they are in a safe that is both water- and fire-proof. Keep the safe locked at all times and tell a person you trust the combination or where you keep the key.
Financial documents in your ‘go-bag’
A copy of your essential documents should be kept in your ‘go-bag’. And the bag should be strategically kept close to an exit, where you can grab it in an emergency. Also, put enough cash in your ‘go-bag’ that can last your family two to three days expenses. This way you will not be stock if the banks and ATMs are close after the disaster.
Prepare for worst
Lastly, put in your ‘go-bag’ a letter of intent. This is a simple instruction to just anyone on how to take care of your family, assuming you are seriously injured or worse. Include where important documents are located; the names and phone numbers of your legal and financial advisers and your employer; passwords for online accounts; a financial inventory to explain what income, investments or insurance proceeds they can expect to receive (retirement plans, vacation pay, business expenses not yet reimbursed); and which expenses will come due. While doing this, beware of scammers who come out to take advantage of a disaster to defraud others. Be careful who your hand the letter of intent to.
Preparing for disaster this way help reduce anxiety and stress later in the future. Now if an emergency occurs, once you pick up your ‘go-bag’ you are confident you are financial covered to care for some post-disaster needs.