Hurricane season just started so there’s no better time than now to start getting prepared for the worst. You need to have to have enough food, make sure the family and pets are safe. You may need to board up your windows. However, on top of all that you need to get financially prepared for weather emergencies. Whether you have a hurricane, tornado, flood, monsoon or blizzard on the horizon, you have to safeguard yourself from scams. 

Preparing For A Weather Emergency

  1. Safeguard your physical items.
    • Take a video of your home and its contents. For insurance purposes, having a current video of home and everything that is inside of it is invaluable. In the event of a worst case scenario, your insurance company will have video evidence of exactly what you owned. 
    • Buy A Fireproof Safe. You should store all of your most important physical documents inside your safe. Also, keep a copy of all current prescriptions, insurance information and emergency contacts inside. You do need to make sure that the safe is portable though, because you need to grab it and go if you must evacuate your home.
  2. Have a plan of action.
    • Sign up for alerts/warnings. In the event of a weather emergency, your local, public safety officials will use systems to keep you abreast of updates.
    • Review your insurance policy. Some insurance policies will pay for replacement clothing, temporary shelter among other things if you are affected by a weather disaster. Before the weather event occurs, it’s important that you know what your insurance policies will provide.

Be Aware Of Scams In The Aftermath

As sad as it sounds, there are criminals who try to scam victims of weather disasters right after the traumatic event. Many people aren’t in their normal frame of mind after losing their home, for example. Thieves will use this temporary lapse in judgement as the perfect time to steal your information or money. 

  • Beware of fake contractors. After a weather event, such as a hurricane, many people will have damage to their homes or lots of debris that needs to be cleaned up. Legitimate businesses may go door-to-door offering their services, but you have to be very careful. Before providing any personal information or money, you must vet the person and/or business. Ask to see:
    • Identification
    • Proof of Insurance
    • Business Licenses
    • References/Reviews
  • Get estimates from more than one business. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. If someone your trust has had a positive experience with a business, you have a bit more peace of mind. 
  • Everything must be in writing. If you agree to have work done, a contract is a must. Read the contract very carefully before you sign. If something was promised to you verbally, make sure it is written in the contract.
  • Do not pay with cash.
  • Do not pay until after the job is finished. You may need to pay a small deposit, but never pay in full until a job is done. 

You’ve got a lot to think about when a weather emergency is on the horizon. However, these emergencies don’t always give you much time to prepare. In addition to your home, family and pets, you’ve got to get financially prepared for weather emergencies. If you do this ahead of time, you will have that much more off of your plate when the time comes.