To further protect yourself, set online and mobile banking alerts so you're notified whenever a transaction occurs or after failed login attempts. If your bank or credit union offers debit card controls, consider limiting the types of businesses and locations your card will work and place spending limits on authorized transactions. If you suspect fraud, report it to your financial institution immediately.
Understanding your insurance coverage is crucial to helping you recover what you lost after a costly natural disaster like a hurricane. That’s why you should take the time to review your insurance policies annually. Details to consider are if your insurance policy is enough to protect you and how much is your deductible is. Additionally, make sure you understand the differences between what’s covered under flood insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, auto insurance and more.
Thanks to smartphones, taking a picture is easier than ever, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. Besides keeping physical and digital copies of important documents, you should also take photos and videos of your home and personal property. This way, you can quickly and easily provide a detailed record of your home and belongings, which may help expedite the insurance claims process.
Though insurance can help make you whole again, it will likely only kick in after you pay the deductible, and sometimes, it takes days or weeks before your claim pays out. That means you need the funds to pay your deductibles, which can be several thousand dollars. You can use your emergency fund to pay for your insurance deductible or to cover living expenses while you wait for your insurance payout.
If you own your own home, another option to consider is a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC is a flexible option that allows you to borrow money against your home’s equity as needed. In contrast to a home equity loan and many other loan types, you can borrow money multiple times, and you’ll only have to pay interest on what you use rather than a single lump sum. You may also find the interest to be lower than using a credit card.
An emergency financial first aid kit is integral to successfully managing an unexpected disaster such as a hurricane. Besides physical copies of identification, financial and legal documents, you’ll also want to keep some cash handy in case you can’t get to an ATM or bank. For more tips on building your emergency financial first aid kit, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.
A hurricane can form at any time and you need to prepare. Start by securing your documents in a weatherproof safe, adding digital copies of those documents to cloud-based storage, and enrolling in online banking with paperless statements. You’ll also want to review and understand your insurance coverages and begin establishing a hurricane emergency fund or opening a HELOC, which can provide for your immediate cash needs in case a storm strikes. Finally, you should prepare an emergency financial first aid kit, complete with some cash and hard copies of photo ID cards, insurance information and financial and legal documents.
If you’re a business owner, it’s important to have a disaster plan in place to minimize impact on your company. Review the nine things your company’s disaster plan should include.