Floridians are in the thick of hurricane season. Seeing the damage that Hurricane Ian brought to our communities has made many of us stop and wonder: “Am I financially prepared for something like this to happen to me and my family?”
The uncontrollable and destructive nature of hurricanes makes it quite impossible to entirely protect all of your belongings and your assets. However, there are certainly some steps you can take to preserve what you care about most and what can get you through these unpredictable times. Below are some tips that can help you get and stay prepared for the rest of hurricane season.
- Gather all your financial documents and keep them in a readily accessible spot. It is possible you and your loved ones may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, and it is essential that you keep your documents handy to take with you. It is recommended to have both a physical and digital copy available, but whatever you do, make sure you are able to access it in an emergency.
- Review your insurance coverage.1 It is imperative that you have insurance to protect your belongings, no matter what your living situation looks like. For homeowners, you will need to get both homeowners and flood insurance policies, while those who rent will need renter’s insurance. Relatedly, you may consider your car insurance to make sure it is comprehensive enough to cover damage from floods or objects that might fall on the vehicle.
- Make sure you strengthen your home. This can be done in a variety of ways, including reinforcing doors, windows, walls, and roofs; and you may consider constructing a “safe room” as long as it meets the required criteria. You can also waterproof your basement as well as anchor down objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Develop an emergency supply kit. This includes anything from a first aid kit, to food and water, clothing, and more. For a more specific checklist, use this guide at https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/hurricane-supply-checklist/.
- Take photos and videos of your property. This will be important in documenting the condition of your belongings before and after the storm hits. Make sure you are able to digitally store this information to refer back to if the time comes.
- Have a certain amount of cash handy. In many instances, ATMs will stop operating due to power outages, so make sure you keep a healthy amount available for gas, supplies, or other necessities like food. Be sure to have an amount that you can keep on your person, as you don’t want the storm to destroy any lingering money you have lying around.2
- Build an emergency fund. Now, this isn’t possible in all circumstances, but the idea is to be mindful of your spending now so you can be prepared later. It is never too late to start saving in this emergency fund, so get started now before the next storm hits.
Every person’s preparation will look different, but these are some of the most common tips that can help you if you get caught in the storm’s path. We know you have put a lot of time, energy, and effort into creating a financial plan that fits your goals, and we are here to help you protect it and keep you on track.