Resilience starts with financial preparedness. Hurricanes happen often with little or no warning, and the unexpected can take a toll on your financial planning. Below are financial preparedness tips that may help you be prepare for the 2019 hurricane season.
- Keep cash in a safe place. Most ATMs in Puerto Rico were inoperable after Hurricane María. Have some cash handy in case you need to buy fuel or supplies.
- Create a budget for disaster-related expenses. Keep your income and fixed expenses in mind. Estimate costs of insurance deductibles, possible mandatory evacuations and essentials like food, clothing, shelter, gas and emergency medical assistance.
- Document your finances before an emergency. This will save time and stress when registering for disaster assistance, if necessary.
- Build an emergency fund. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account and set a monthly savings goal. This will get you into the habit of saving regularly and be financially prepared for hurricane seasons.
- Download FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. This guide is designed to help you organize and secure documents you will need during the recovery process: www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness
- Review your insurance coverage. Make sure your policy covers all your family specific needs. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance.
- Keep financial documents safe and protected. Copies of important documents like stock and bond certificates; IRA or 401(k) account numbers; bank statements; and tax records, including W2s and important receipts, should be kept in plastic bags. Place photocopies of this documents in plastic bags. Consider wrapping them in plastic to protect against water damage. Upload digital copies of important disaster-related expenses.
- Take care of your urgent financial issues. Contact your lenders, creditors and banks to let them know of the situation in case of a hurricane warning. Also, make a list of places that may provide financial assistance in case you need it after the disaster.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane María visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.