Being Prepared for Tornado Season
Thursday, May 30 2019
As Oklahomans, we know tornado season well. We’re all familiar with the inevitable gathering around the TV to watch what Mother Nature wants to dish out. In those moments we ask ourselves, “Are we really ready for a natural disaster?”
You find yourself asking the question, “Worst case scenario, if a tornado hits my house today, would I have everything I need to start over?”
The answer for me is usually a resounding “no”, but then tornado season is over, and we go about our lives again until next year. What can we do to be prepared? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some tips to help you be better prepared for tornado season.
Keep Cash on Hand
Historically, when a significant tornado hits, everyone loses power in that area. So, will you have the cash you need on hand if your financial institution loses power for a day? Chances are, you have other alternatives to take out your money like service center locations or at an ATM.
But I still recommend having a little cash on hand for food and a hotel stay. $200-$300 for food and necessities until the power is restored. Small bills work better since most stores won’t be able to break large bills.
Have a Stout Emergency Fund
If you are unable to return to work or have significant damage to your home, you’ll need to use your emergency fund to support you and your family until you get back on your feet. Use this fund for insurance deductibles and necessities until you get can get back to work.
But saving can be hard, especially now. I always recommend opening a savings account and having a set amount automatically withdrawn from your paycheck each time you get paid. If you need help building your savings fast, check out our blog. We also have a great savings assistance program for our members here at Focus to help you get on your feet financially and have an emergency fund.
Get a Storm Shelter
If you don’t have one already, it’s essential in Oklahoma to have one. Even if it just gives you peace of mind, it’s well worth it. The good news is, once you have one, you’re good. You’ll never have to replace it or buy another one unless you move.
What’s the cost? Storm shelters can get pricey, but you have to weigh out the benefits with the cost. Do you have a place now to get to fast? Can you afford it?
Make sure you do your homework before making a purchase and pay attention to review ratings. If you don’t have the cash on hand, consider a storm shelter loan. Rates are usually very low with flexible terms to help make it more affordable.
Have the Proper Insurance Coverages in Place
The majority of Homeowner’s can’t even remember what their policy covers. Just because your policy is expensive, doesn’t mean it will do what it needs to.
Make sure you pay attention to the dwelling amount and exactly what is covered. You will want to cover all structures on your property as well as all of your belongings.
Dave Ramsey has a list of Endorsed Local Providers or ELP’s that will look over your policy free of charge and see if anything needs to be changed. https://www.daveramsey.com/elp/insurance
Open a Safe Deposit Box
Having all of your important documents in a safe place will give you peace of mind if something were to happen to your house. It’s just like having insurance for your cars and home. One of the most devastating things about losing a home is losing memories. Keep the things that mean the most in your safe deposit box or consider uploading them to a cloud.
These documents will be invaluable as you try to rebuild your life and save you several steps in the long run.