Preparing your finances for a disaster
Connie Prater: When disaster strikes, have your financial house in order.
No one ever likes to think about disaster striking their home or family, but from time to time, a hurricane, wildfires, flooding, or other natural disasters can happen. You might have to get out quickly with your family. Would you know what personal financial items to take? Or what steps to take to make sure you have access to cash, or credit cards, when disaster strikes?
I’m Connie Prater, Senior Writer at CreditCards.com, with tips for safeguarding your credit and financial information during a disaster.
There are two key stages to think about: before a disaster, and afterward. Beforehand, remember to keep enough cash on hand. ATMs and credit card transactions are difficult when there’s no phone service or electricity. Important documents, such a birth certificates, car titles, or credit card statement, should be placed in plastic bags or a fire-safe box, for protection. Keep a list of your credit card account numbers, and the 1-800 toll-free credit card numbers so you can call them if you’ll be traveling outside of your normal area during the disaster, you’ll need to let the credit card company know, so you don’t accidentally trigger a fraud alert and a freeze on your account. After the storm, call the company again, this time to let them how you can be reached.
If you have a credit limit on your account and you’re near that limit, ask for an increase to accommodate such expenses as hotel and motel rooms and gasoline expenses. Remember also that if you’ve lost documents during the storm, you may be vulnerable to identity theft. Many of these steps can be taken long before a storm hits. It’s a good idea to be prepared.
For CreditCards.com, I’m Connie Prater.
Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires can happen when you least expect it. Prepare your finances before the storm hits.