Drew J. Breakspear: Prepare now to weather hurricanes’ financial hardships

Emergencies and disasters occur quickly, without notice, and can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or be confined to your home. Being ready for a disaster is more than storing water and stocking up on supplies. It’s being prepared to handle financial responsibilities and issues should disaster strike.

Having a plan to pay bills and to access your important records and accounts will get you back on your feet faster and help avoid problems with your credit at a time when you need it most.

When preparing a “Financial Readiness Kit” include copies of household identification such as photo IDs, birth certificates and Social Security cards for you and your household. Include records of military service and pet ownership’s well. Such information will allow you to re-establish contact with family members and employers and be useful should you need emergency assistance.

Also include mortgage payment and insurance policy information. It’s important to be able to access account information and continue to make payments if you’re unable to do so electronically. It will save you and your family from potential financial burdens if you keep list of your financial obligations updated .

Starting the recovery process will require your personal identification and financial documents. Don’t forget to safeguard important, hard-to-replace original documents in a bank safety deposit box and/or in water and fireproof storage containers. Visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website, flgetaplan.com, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, ready.gov, for information and guidance to create your Financial Readiness Kit.

Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a smooth hurricane season this year for the Sunshine State, it takes only one storm to make a catastrophe. But planning early will provide peace of mind during hurricane season.

Drew J. Breakspear is commissioner of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation.

Guest Author


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