Natural disasters are not only emotionally and physically damaging they can also wreak havoc on finances. Every household needs an emergency kit. And there are steps you can take to recover spiritually from a disaster, but what about financially?
Here are some Mindful money strategies for disaster survivors:
- Filing insurance. It’s best to familiarize yourself with your homeowners and auto insurance policies before the disaster hits. After it passes, check to be sure that your home is safe. Be cautious of things like loose wires, damaged roofs, and broken gas lines. Inspect your home from top to bottom as well as your car. Make precise notes of all damages, take pictures and then contact your agents as soon as possible.
- Call the office. Contact your employers as soon as possible. You’ll get an office update and you’ll have an opportunity to inform your employer about your current situation. Ask if an Employee Assistance Program is available. If you’ve lost your job due to the disaster you may be eligible for “federal disaster recovery aid” with 26 weeks of unemployment payments.
- Banks/Creditors. Experts suggest contacting your back and creditors as soon as you can. Double check your balance and account activity with your bank. Consider describing your financial situation to all of your creditors. See if they can make a “disaster victim” concession. Have your credit or bank statements forwarded to another address if need be.
- Be on guard for scams. Con artists use this vulnerable time to take advantage of disaster survivors. If you have to vacate your home, protect yourself from identity theft. Have the post office hold your mail and keep your personal information secure. Also, beware of fake charity websites. Many use similar web addresses as certified organizations to scam citizens out of their money and personal information. Also, consider checking your credit report just in case.
To help those affected by natural disasters, consider donating to charities like the American Red Cross. Also, find out if you have friends or friends-of-friends that can use help and send support directly to those in need. Lastly, prepare yourself for a natural disaster by creating your own financial emergency plan with these suggestions.