By prepared we do not mean having enough money to cover expenses if your entire home was to be destroyed by a natural disaster. What we are referring to is having the right documents/records on hand, making sure your insurance information is up to date and you understand your policy coverage, knowing what bills/statements come to your home via regular mail & when they need to be paid, and having a cash reserve to help cover unexpected expenses…also known as Emergency Cash!
What documents and records should you have copies of?
- All important identification documents for all members of the household: driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, social security card, divorce decree, child custody documents, adoption papers
- Estate planning documents, tax statements, copies of insurance policies
- House related documents: mortgage statement (you will still have to make your regular payment even if you can not live in your home for the time being), HELOC information, any other property titles & related documents
- If there is time before an emergency situation, making a video of the contents of your home will prove useful for insurance purposes
Store these documents in a safe place such as a fireproof/waterproof safe or safe deposit box. If using a safe deposit box, be sure to review who is authorized to access the box and your banks’ policies.
Review your Insurance
- Make sure all insurance policies are up to date and paid for (home, auto, life, disability, etc.)
- Review your homeowners’ insurance coverage – make sure it would cover the current cost to repair or rebuild your home, vs the amount your home was insured for when initially purchased.
- Understand what kind of auto coverage you have and what is actually covered – do you have comprehensive or collision only?
Bills & Statements
- If you are receiving paper bills and statements be sure to have a few of them on hand in case you are not at your residence for a period of time, you don’t want to accidently miss an important payment!
- For payments that are made electronically, keep a list of what accounts need to be paid & when.
- If there is time to plan before an emergency situation, downloading your bank & credit cards mobile app’s can make paying bills a lot easier in case a computer & wifi are hard to find!
- This is exactly what the name says, cash on-hand for emergencies! The amount you want to have available should be enough to cover basic needs such as food, gas, and other day to day necessities for an emergency situation. You can keep this cash stored in a safe or waterproof box along with your important identification documents.