reparing for hurricane season takes more than stocking up on extra batteries. It also means being prepared financially and ensuring important documents are kept organized and away from where they could be lost or damaged. Getting your financial records and documents in order now can save you time and stress following a hurricane or other emergency.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends creating a budget for expenses related to disasters, such as insurance deductibles, costs related to evacuations and essentials like gas, food, shelter and emergency medical help. It’s also a good idea to consider an emergency savings account to be ready when an emergency arises.
FEMA offers an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit on its website to help you keep track of important documents, records and contact information you may need in the aftermath of a disaster, such as a hurricane. In addition to household identification, contacts and medical information, the kit also includes a checklist to help you keep track of financial and legal documentation.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests taking an inventory of your possessions with video or photos, which could help you if you need to file an insurance claim. As with other important records, the FTC recommends keeping one hard copy of the inventory in a fire-proof, lockable file box in your home and a second copy held either in a safe deposit box or saved on a device such as a USB flash drive or external hard drive kept at a safe location away from home.
Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union offers safe deposit boxes at most branches. Call 930-7700 or visit your local branch for availability and additional information.
Other documents to consider storing in a safe deposit box include property leases, deeds and titles for your home and any vehicles; financial agreements, appraisals of expensive jewelry and heirlooms as well as certificates for any stocks, bonds or other investments you may have.
The key to your safe deposit box should be kept in a fire-proof, lockable file box along with a small amount of cash in case ATMs and financial institutions are closed. The FTC recommends keeping the file box on a shelf in a secure and accessible place where it can be easily grabbed in the event of an emergency.
Hurricane season in the central Pacific starts June 1 and runs through November 30.