The following article is by Kristi Muse, our staff writer. She is a freelance writer, blogger, police officer’s wife, and stay at home mom of two. To read more about how she tries to live a balanced life visit her website at Moderate Muse.
Flash floods and brush fires have been at the top of the news lately. Four people have now been killed by the floods in Kentucky while hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of California homes have been burned or damaged from the spreading brush fires, despite the best efforts to keep the fires contained.
People lose their property and their lives to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, etc. every year. We are powerless to stop the effects of Mother Nature, but we can try to protect ourselves as much as possible by being financially prepared to deal with the aftermath.
Emergencies come in all forms, and you never know when a disaster could strike. Do you feel financially prepared to deal with the after-effects of a natural disaster?
Here are just a few precautionary measures to take to protect your property and your finances in the event of an emergency.
Emergency savings fund
Due to the extreme drought in California, brush fires have burned their way across thousands of acres. One brush fire even jumped the highway and forced drivers to abandon their vehicles on the freeway to flee the flames. In the confusion of the aftermath and clean up, some of those drivers are now facing over $600 in towing fees. If you were one of those drivers, would you have enough money saved to pay for the unexpected expense of a $600 towing fee?
If a hurricane hits your area, you might be forced leave your home and stay in a hotel for as much as a week or more. Would you be able to handle that expense along with paying for meals and gas?
It’s important to make sure that you have an emergency savings fund kept aside to pay for unexpected expenses without putting yourself into debt. Even saving as little as $25 per paycheck to put towards an emergency fund could make the difference between financial security or finding yourself buried in credit card debt and personal loans.
Comprehensive car insurance
Most car insurance plans won’t cover damage done to your vehicle during a natural disaster. If you only have collision coverage, the insurance company will only cover the cost of repair or replacement if another vehicle crashes into your car during the actual event of a natural disaster.
If you want your insurance to cover damage caused as a result of or by the disaster itself, you will have to buy supplemental coverage. You can choose to pay for individual types of natural disaster coverage, or you could pay for comprehensive car insurance which covers all different types of natural disasters. Comprehensive car insurance is more costly on a monthly basis, but depending upon the value of your vehicle, it could very well be worth the extra cost for full coverage.
Understand your home insurance policy
Much like car insurance, most home insurance policies won’t cover so-called “acts of God.” Read the fine print of your policy. If you aren’t sure about the extent of your coverage, talk with an insurance agent about your policy and look into whether or not it would be feasible to add supplemental coverage. Home owners who live in flood plains or areas prone to hurricanes should definitely look into water damage policies. People who live along active fault lines should seriously consider adding earthquake coverage to their insurance policies.
If, like me, you happen to live in an area that gets earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados you should move…Just kidding. If you love your area so much that you are willing to endure whatever Mother Nature throws at you, then look into how much it would cost to add comprehensive or supplemental coverage to your home. The added up-front cost could save you thousands in the event of a disaster.
Keep an emergency kit in each vehicle and in your home
One easy way to prepare for Natural disasters is to create an emergency preparedness kit to keep in your home and in your vehicles. You could keep all the essentials in a plastic bin or in a back pack that you could easily grab on your way out the door.
If you don’t already have an emergency kit, consider stocking up on a few items at a time. Preparing incrementally will be easier on your wallet than buying all of the items at once. Some items to consider adding to a natural disaster kit are paper towels, a first aid kit, emergency radio, protein bars, chlorine tablets for purifying water, flares, a flashlight, and cash.
Having cash on hand is especially important during an emergency, because banks and ATMs may not have power or be able to function properly. You will want to have enough money on hand to get you through until you can access the rest of your emergency savings fund.
Natural disaster doesn’t have to equal financial disaster
Are you prepared for a natural disaster? You don’t want to be caught unprepared when Mother Nature decides to strike. Taking precautions ahead of time could save you thousands of dollars if your property is damaged by a natural disaster. Make sure you have an emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice, start saving money for your emergency fund, and take a close review of your various insurance policies. Don’t let a natural disaster spell financial disaster in your life.
How do you prepare for natural disasters? Do you have supplemental insurance coverage for your home or vehicle?