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Don’t Let a Natural Disaster Become a Financial Disaster

Photo of disaster preparedness checklist and items

There are a lot of uncertainties during hurricane season, and the best way to achieve peace of mind is to prepare. Besides securing your property and buying supplies, it’s important to put your financial house in order. Preparing financially now can help prevent a natural disaster from becoming a financial one.

Here are some tips:

Create an emergency fund.

If you don’t already have an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of living expenses, this is a good time to start one. A hurricane can lead to downed power lines, trees, or worse that can prevent you from getting to your job or cause you to evacuate. An extra financial cushion can help prepare for extra expenses. Here is a roadmap to starting an emergency fund.

Check insurance coverage.

Look over insurance policies for your house, car or the apartment you rent to make sure you have enough coverage for an emergency. Review what is covered and what is not. Make sure you understand your deductible, and whether you need flood insurance.

Keep cash on hand.

If a hurricane is headed your way, keep some cash on hand. If the electricity is out, ATMs will not work and businesses will not be able to accept credit cards. Tip: While you’re at it, fill your gas tank. Gas pumps will not work if the power is out.

Sign up for online and mobile banking.

A natural disaster, like a hurricane, could disrupt mail service, or if you evacuate, prevent you from receiving your mail. Enrolling in online and mobile banking is a great idea, so you can access your accounts, pay bills and see important account information anytime from anywhere.

Safeguard important papers.

Make copies of important documents and store them in zippered plastic bags, in case of flood or water damage. Taking pictures of documents and uploading digital copies to a secure cloud account is also a great best practice.

Buy supplies over time.

If you need to stock up on bottled water, batteries or nonperishable food items, start early. Look for sales and buy over time to ease the strain on your wallet. Create a savings plan for extras to help you budget.

Look for discounts.

A last-minute evacuation to a hotel can put a serious dent in your cash flow. Before a hurricane is headed your way, look for membership discounts, such as AAA, AARP or government discounts, that you can use if needed. Look for hotel chains that honor discounts.

Preparing yourself financially now for a hurricane can help ease the burden on your wallet if disaster strikes.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.