Some states have a history of being threatened by natural disasters while other get hit unexpectedly. Whether you are expecting trouble or not in your area it can still be a period of great anxiety for homeowners.
Here is a look at what you can do to prepare and deal with the consequences of a natural disaster.
The inevitable disruption
When Hurricane Sandy announced in arrival on land in October 2012 there were some eight million people in the Tri-State area who were affected in some way, with many in the New Jersey area losing access to vital resources such as power and experiencing restrictions on food and water.
It is always a good idea to create your own checklist so that you are prepared physically and financially for the inevitable disruption that follows a natural disaster.
Local risk profile
Sometimes you have no idea or warning that disaster is looming but many areas are prone to certain events more than others so it is a good idea to investigate what your area is most at risk from.
Check to see if you are in an area that is prone to flooding or it could be that you face a greater risk from wildfires. It should not be too difficult to quickly establish a picture of what you are most at risk from and concentrate in particular in protecting yourself accordingly.
Having established which risks are typical for your area you need to ensure that you have adequate home insurance, especially in relation to natural elements where there is a high probability of your property being damaged or you suffering a financial loss when they occur.
All insurers will have a risk profile for each area and you may need to shop around for the best home insurance rates from sites such as homeinsurance.com so that you are adequately protected at an affordable price.
Protecting your property
Insurance is obviously designed to deal with the aftermath of an event such as a natural disaster but there are things that you as a homeowner can do to try and protect your physical property against more common natural disasters that may occur in your area.
There are a couple of useful resource sites where you can get more comprehensive advice such as www.redcross.org and www.fema.gov but when it comes to flooding for example, sealing your basement with a waterproofing compound and installing check valves to prevent floodwater from back up your drains, would be very worthwhile actions and could event reduce your insurance rates.
One of the most distressing aspects to many people in the aftermath of a natural disaster is the loss or damage to items of great sentimental of financial value. It would be a good idea to invest in a safe or secure lockbox so that you can store away certain irreplaceable items and you might also consider scanning documents or pictures so that you have a copy if the original is lost or damaged.
Online document storage
Everyone has important financial documents in their possession that are important to keep safe and there are some good online storage services such as www.dropbox.com where you can store a backup scanned copy of documents which can be quickly and easily retrieved if the original goes missing.
Set up an emergency fund
It can often take between 4-6 weeks or more for your insurer to settle any claim especially after a natural disaster where their resources will be stretched and it will take time to evaluate and process a high number of claims.
If your finances can stretch to it, an emergency savings fund equivalent to between 2-4 months of your monthly income would allow you to cope financially until your claim is settled.
Take steps to protect and prepare for natural disaster in your area and you will be in a much better position to cope if you are unfortunate enough to experience damage firsthand.