A disaster like a hurricane is an equal opportunity destroyer, hitting people at all income levels. If you collect your personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records ahead of a disaster, however, you'll start the recovery process more quickly and efficiently. Here's what FEMA recommends you do.
1. Gather financial and critical personal, household, and medical information. Scan them and upload them to the cloud or a removable drive, or make paper copies and put them in a watertight envelope in your Go-Bag.
2. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. Small bills are best in case ATM’s and credit cards don't work when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food during or after the emergency.
3. Have property (homeowners or renters)*, health, and life insurance. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Remember that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Download, print, and complete the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA, to help you prepare financially and provide tips to reduce the impact disasters can leave you with financially.
* NHS Brooklyn offers free property insurance workshops (no sales, just education) to help you understand your policy and coverage, and determine if you're paying too much. For more information and to RSVP for a workshop, click here.