Did summer storms flood your house, or have you lost income during the pandemic? Planning ahead for these and other potential emergencies can help you bounce back financially. September’s National Preparedness Month is a good time to plan how you can protect and manage your finances. FEMA has several free resources to help you get on the right track.
The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) helps keep all your important documents at your fingertips. The EFFAK gives you a way to organize critical financial, medical, and household information. It includes checklists and forms to help you gather the documents you will need after a disaster or other emergencies.
The EFFAK is available in six languages — English, Spanish, simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. A large print edition is also available for download. You can also order a print copy of the EFFAK in multiple accessible formats for free with no shipping costs!
Another helpful tool is the two-page Be Prepared for a Financial Emergency information sheet, which includes tips to prepare before, during, and after a financial emergency. Here are some tips:
- Review your insurance coverage, including flood, health, and homeowners or renters insurance. Flood insurance typically takes 30 days to go into effect. Remember to renew your insurance every year.
- Protect your property by taking photos and videos of household items in case you need to repair, replace, or rebuild after a disaster.
- Start an emergency savings account. Saving even small amounts like $5 or $10 a week is a good place to start. Make a budget to estimate monthly income and expenses.
- Reduce debt by making regular payments of at least the minimum due and pay your bills on time to maintain a good credit rating.
- Reach out for assistance by logging on to DisasterAssistance.gov. You can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your community or dial 211 for a referral for community-based resources.
- Make a list of all property damage and contact your insurance company as soon as you can. File a flood insurance claim. Work with your insurance adjuster and insurance agent throughout the process.
- Be cautious of scams after disasters. Don’t give out your personal identification numbers.
In addition, check out the Your Disaster Checklist for a briefer look at how to record some of your financial and personal information. It includes helpful information on protecting your personal finances and a table to fill out with important account numbers and contacts.
The most important thing you can do to increase your financial resilience is to get started! That might mean creating a budget to track income and expenses or organizing your financial documents. The more you do today, the better your peace of mind will be tomorrow.
This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here
Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services, or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting FEMAfirstname.lastname@example.org