Believe it or not, hurricane season is here. Preparing early while you have the time can save you the stress of having to panic when a storm is right around the corner. The need for preparation couldn’t be clearer in the wake of the gasoline panic buying we’ve just witnessed after the recent pipeline hack, and who could forget the run on toilet paper at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Below are some planning ideas you can put in place in advance of a storm. Basically, you’ll want to be ready in case you have no power or water for a week or longer.
Home and Family Planning
- Store enough non-perishable food and water for at least three to seven days for your family. You may want to fill up the bathtub or other large containers with extra water for washing dishes and flushing toilets.
- Have cash handy. If the power is out, ATMs will not work (nor will credit cards) and you may need cash for essentials.
- Having a battery-powered or solar-powered radio can be helpful, so you can keep abreast of what is going on outside.
- Declutter. Secure outside furniture or any items that can become projectiles. In addition, cut down trees that could damage your home or your neighbors’ property.
- If you don’t have hurricane impact windows, make sure your shutters are functional.
- Charge electronics, buy back-up devices and have flashlights and replacement batteries on hand.
- Have enough food and supplies for children and pets – don’t forget the entertainment, including games and toys!
- Fill any important prescription medications so you have ample supply in the event you cannot get to the pharmacy or doctor.
- Buying or preparing a first aid kit or emergency bag may be helpful – you can find these bags on Amazon for under $100. You can create a larger kit for staying at home and a smaller kit in the event you have to evacuate.
- Plan for family members with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Many medical devices need power supplies.
- Fill up all your cars and make sure you have enough fuel for generators.
- Talk to family members to decide how you will contact each other and what your plan will be in an emergency. Write down important phone numbers and store them with your important documents — most of us don’t remember phone numbers in our heads anymore, and if you lose power and your cellphone battery dies you won’t have access to your contacts anymore. Make a list of emergency phone numbers and family physicians. Some ideas can be found here: (opens in new tab)http://www.ek-ff.com/Organizer.pdf (opens in new tab)
- Secure boats and RVs. If you have a swimming pool, check the fence around it and the safety net or pool cover. Consider a pool alarm in the event the fence blows down, as swimming pools can pose a danger to children and pets, especially after a storm.
- Review your homeowners and flood insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage now, well before any storms even form. Real estate values have gone up considerably in some areas, so make sure your policy has kept up with home values and replacement costs.
- Store important documents on secure cloud storage services so you can access them remotely later. You may want to store your insurance policies and any other important home-related documents. At Evensky & Katz (opens in new tab) we provide all our clients with their own client portal document vaults where they can securely store important documents.
- Buy a waterproof case for personal documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates and passports – something that can be grabbed quickly if you have to evacuate. As backup you may want to scan these documents and save copies in a password-protected file.
- Secure valuables, such as jewelry and sentimental memorabilia (old photos and heirlooms). Possibly store them in a safe deposit box or fireproof/waterproof safe.
- Most insurance policies have a 2% hurricane deductible, so make sure you have enough cash set aside in the event you need to come up with these funds for urgent repairs. Insurance companies may take awhile to send adjusters and process claims.
- If you own a business, make sure you have a continuity plan in place.
Since we are still in a pandemic this website may be useful:
- https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/covid-19/prepare-for-hurricane.html (opens in new tab)
Other useful websites:
- https://www.miamidade.gov/global/emergency/hurricane/home.page (opens in new tab)
- https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes (opens in new tab)
- http://www.floridadisaster.org/ (opens in new tab)
Roxanne Alexander is a senior financial adviser with Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial handling client analysis on investments, insurance, annuities, college planning and developing investment policies. Prior to this, she was a senior vice president at Evensky & Katz working with both individual and institutional clients. She has a bachelor’s in accounting and business management from the University of the West Indies, she received an MBA at the University of Miami in finance and investments.
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