Faced with a natural disaster? Here’s how to prepare your finances

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It is important to prepare for natural disasters, here is how to prepare financially. (iStock)

When it comes to preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes, many Americans might primarily think of stocking up on food and water. They can also get a first aid kit, batteries, flashlight, or even generators, but just as important as having supplies is to prepare financially, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

The FDIC offers several steps to consider when preparing your finances for a natural disaster. If you have ever been affected by a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Ida or Hurricane Nicolas – you can take out a home improvement loan to help repair the damage. Visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate today as rates stay near record lows.

“It is important to prepare for your financial impact from a natural disaster,” the FDIC indicated in his report. “These steps can help ease the challenge of restoring or replacing your property after a catastrophic event.”

Here are some FDIC-recommended suggestions to consider in order to prepare financially before a natural disaster strikes:

Keep your important documents safe

In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, it is important to protect sensitive information. These documents include original copies of essentials such as a driver’s license, passports, social security cards and birth certificates. It is also important to keep on hand the contact details of your banks or insurance companies, your current home or tenant insurance policy, copies of medical information such as insurance cards, prescription drugs, health records and an inventory of valuable personal property.

The FDIC has advised that these items should be kept in an emergency disposal bag, stored electronically, or even stored in a safe in a bank.

Plans for property damage

Property damage can be handled by your insurance company. After the loss, a claims adjuster will visit the residence and assess the damage. It is essential to keep all receipts for repairs carried out and to take pictures. Residents should keep their insurance information and phone numbers in a safe place with their important documents.

For parts that are not covered by insurance, federal help is often available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Consumers can also take advantage of today’s low interest rates to take out a personal loan for home repairs. Visit Credible to compare several lenders and choose the one that offers you the best rates.

Pay your mortgage

After a natural disaster, paying off your mortgage or other loan bills can become difficult. Homeowners should contact their loan officer immediately to discuss their options, and they can often qualify for forbearance programs while they get back on their feet.

For a permanent solution, homeowners may consider refinancing their home loan with current interest rates below 3% to reduce their monthly payments to hundreds of dollars. Visit Credible to be prequalified in minutes without affecting your credit score.

Watch out for scams

Many fraudsters take advantage of the chaos caused by natural disasters to swindle victims and demand more money from them in their quest for recovery. Victims of disasters should be careful before accepting unsolicited help or assistance, the FDIC explained. Be sure to use an official government organization when looking for disaster relief; you can tell you are using secure websites by making sure it starts with “https” or that it is a “.gov” website before entering your information.

With a credit monitoring service, you can receive instant alerts about late payments, fraudulent activity, credit score changes and more. Check out some of Credible’s partners here.

Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email the Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question could be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.


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