The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (M.E.M.A.) wants to remind everyone that it is essential to think about finances as part of your preparedness plan for hurricane season.
“Having a financial plan in place, before a threat is imminent, will give you peace of mind during a stressful time and will help you recover more quickly after a disaster,” said M.E.M.A. Director Robert Latham. “Following a hurricane, access to places like banks, insurance and government offices may be limited, so take action now to compile and copy important documents. It is always a good idea to keep cash on hand, as that may be the only way to do business after an event .”
Here are some helpful tips:
Start an emergency savings account. Most experts recommend having a minimum of three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund if possible. These funds can be used to make disaster repairs, cover insurance deductibles or pay monthly bills if your income is interrupted by job loss. Keep some cash on hand, because if the power is out in your area, it is likely that credit card machines and ATMs will not work.
Review your insurance coverage. Review your policy and make sure you have the proper amount of coverage to repair or replace your home and belongings. Pay special attention to deductibles that apply to specific events, such as hurricanes, which can be a percentage of your home’s value. Also review your flood coverage because it is not included in most homeowners insurance policies.
Secure critical documents. Take some time to make sure that your critical documents are in a safe, secure place and could be taken with you if you have to evacuate. Documents you will want to secure include driver’s license, green card, passport; social security and tax information; titles, deeds, and registrations for property and vehicles owned; insurance policies; credit card, bank and investment records; birth certificates, marriage certificates and wills. Invest in a water and fire-proof box or safe-deposit box to keep these records secure. You could also keep copies of them electronically on portable drives or make hard copies.
Review your “what if” scenarios and make a plan. What if your place of employment is damaged and will close either for a few weeks or indefinitely? The rebuilding effort following a storm often creates new job opportunities. What if schools are closed and you don’t have a place to bring your children? What if your home is damaged and no longer safe to live in? Talk to friends and neighbors about sharing the childcare responsibilities until schools reopen.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared June 2nd-6th as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi. For more information about how to prepare for hurricane season, go to M.E.M.A.’s website at www.msema.org or download the M.E.M.A. mobile app on your iOS or Android device. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” M.E.M.A. on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.