PORTLAND, OR, (Aug. 26, 2019) – Disasters usually come without a lot of warning. Earthquakes, tornadoes and other emergencies like fires often lead to evacuation and then rebuilding after the damage has occurred, upending lives in the process. A little planning goes a long way to ease the process of restoring your life in the wake of a disaster. In honor of National Preparedness Month, COUNTRY Financial offers the following tips to be ready in the event of an emergency:
1. Take a video inventory of your belongings.
This is one of the most worthwhile ways to spend 10 minutes. Think about all of the belongings you currently have in your kitchen cabinets, closets, garage, etc. Could you list all of them from memory? This is why taking a video inventory of your belongings is so important. If a home fire or other disaster strikes, you’ll have a current log of items to provide to your insurance company.
Tips for taking a video inventory:
• Use narration. You might feel silly talking over your video, but it’s so helpful. While you’re recording, be sure to describe what we’re looking at. The more detailed you are during your video shoot, the better.
• Record everything. This might seem obvious, but you need to capture everything you own. It sounds overwhelming, but if you take it one room at a time, you’ll be done in no time. Break up the videos and create one for each room can make the process easier. Don’t forget places like your garage, attic or shed, if you have them.
• Capture (some) serial numbers. For bigger ticket items, like electronics, point the camera at the make, model and serial numbers and narrate that information over the video as you record. This will help ensure you’re reimbursed for the same product (or for one of equal value).
2. Save for emergencies.
It’s no secret that life can hit at the most inopportune times. Do you have enough saved to cover your insurance deductible, or to evacuate should a natural disaster occur? In some extreme cases, you may need to have cash on hand if card readers are down.
Ideally, you should have 3 – 6 months’ worth of expenses in an easily-accessible account such as a savings account. A budget worksheet can help you determine how much you’ll need to save. From there, set a weekly savings goal and make adjustments to your current budget as you build your emergency fund.
3. Talk with your insurance rep to review your current coverages.
Are your current insurance coverages adequate for your needs? A regular review with your insurance rep can help you to learn more about what your policies currently cover and what they don’t, so you can make necessary adjustments to ensure you’re adequately covered should a disaster occur.
This is also a great time to share any lifestyle changes or updates in financial priorities. If your family has grown, if you’ve made improvements to your home or you’re looking for ways to save, you may need to adjust your coverages.
For other resources on preparing for emergencies, including how to create emergency plans with your family, getting involved in community trainings and more, visit Ready.gov.