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Are you financially prepared for hurricane season?  Here are five steps you should take now.

Today marks the first day of hurricane season. And while many may be preparing their homes and other property to ensure it is hurricane-proof, it is essential to ensure your finances are ready as well. 

Take time to review and compile your insurance documents.

Do you know who holds your insurance? 

Do you know what your deductibles are? 

Are you covered for both flood and property damage? 

This is a great time to review your insurance coverage to ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect against all threats concerning your property. Mainly, you should consider reviewing your insurance policies with your agent. Review your deductibles to ensure it is affordable for both flood and property. Also, determine if you have enough coverage in the event you need to rebuild your home or replace damaged property. 

Obtain exclusive coverage if needed. 

Do you own specialty items? 

All insurance policies do not cover everything. Certain items require specialized insurance coverage. You should discuss this with your agent if you own or store within your home – antiques, jewelry, firearms, or business property. You may be required to purchase additional coverage to ensure your property is covered in the event of a disaster.  

Make a “To Go” System

Use a simple folder and consider making a “to go” system in the event you may need to evacuate. I have a great checklist and financial prep planner you can use, to assist you in your efforts. Along with this checklist, gather critical financial documents such as the following and ensure they are in one place: 

  1. Insurance documents

  2. Titles and deeds

  3. Birth certificates and social security cards

  4. Photographs of personal property

  5. Tax returns

  6. Irreplaceable items (pictures, rare coins or currency, etc.)

  7. Wills

Also, keep in mind that you are a self-employed individual; you are current with tax filings and reporting your business income. Frequently after a disaster, many government agencies and organizations require these documents when applying for disaster financial assistance. 

Create a Disaster Emergency Fund

It is also a good idea to put some money away in case you are required to evacuate. Creating a disaster emergency fund is a great way to ensure you have cash in the event of the disaster. Keep in mind, during an evacuation, you may need to pay for expenses, such as lodging, gasoline, food, and other costs. For three months, saving at least $50 per week would provide you with a savings of $600. If you are not required to evacuate, you can continue to save for the following hurricane season.

#Kemcents tip – Keep Cash on Hand

Quite often, you may hear, save some cash in case of a disaster. But, I am here to tell you not only to save some money but keep cash on hand. I can recall during Hurricane Katrina how difficult it was to access funds from ATMs. Since I had a local bank, not only was I out of pocket, but my financial institution was also! So make sure you take some cash when you evacuate. It can go a mighty long way.

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant, owner of Washington CPA Services, LLC, and author of several books!  Connect with her on social media @kemcents!!

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