Know Where to Turn When a Natural Disaster Hits

Yesterday’s earthquake, which stretched across the eastern seaboard and reached as high as 5.9 on the Richter Scale in Virginia, was the day’s biggest news.

Unfortunately, not many homeowners, condominium owners and renters were aware whether earthquake coverage was included in their existing policies. Indeed, homeowners, condominium or renters insurance does not automatically cover earthquake damage. The coverage is purchased as a separate endorsement from your insurance company. But to alleviate this concern, two things should happen — dwelling coverage should be purchased and coverage on other property structures and personal property should be bought as well.

As for cost, earthquake insurance varies from state to state and not all companies offer this type of coverage.  Premiums are based on, but not limited to, the age and type of home, the construction materials used and the proximity of the location to fault lines.

Don’t wait until you see a news broadcast about an inpending natural disaster to get prepared. Most happen with little, if any, warning. Being prepared to protect yourself and your finances shouldn’t be a hard-learned lesson. Call Gunn Mowery toll-free today at (800) 840-1243.

For more information on what you should do when natural disasters strike, make sure to read these keys:

• Put enough cash inside your emergency bag to last your entire family at least three days. Don’t dip into it until a disaster occurs and don’t make the mistake of counting on an ATM or bank for cash.

• Insurance cards, drivers licenses, passports and credit cards will be needed. Make sure to keep these items together.

• Keep copies of power of attorney and medical directives for family members in your emergency bag.

• Even though service outages are common during disasters, you’ll want to carry your cell phone, iPad, and smart phone with you — and don’t forget the chargers. Place them in an easily accessible area and make sure that you always charge them up each night.

• Store the contact info and account numbers for all your insurance policies on one of the electronic devices you plan to carry with you. However, since you might not have power or service following a disaster, you should also have a handwritten list in your emergency bag.

• You’ll want to let your employer know you’re safe and determine when you need to report to work. Ask your employer if there’s an emergency preparedness program and ask who to contact in the event of a disaster.

•You want to quickly grab any safe deposit box, home safe and post office box keys.

In addition to having your emergency bag and grab and go items ready, you might also considering the following actions:

•Review your insurance policies to make sure you’re covered sufficiently for applicable disasters.

• Store important financial documents, such as insurance policies, deeds, and wills, in a safe deposit box or in a water and fire-proof home safe.

• Consider what will happen with your income during and after a disaster. Those living off an annuity, government benefit, or pension probably won’t run into any problems with their income flow. However, self-employed and hourly workers could find themselves reliant on their emergency cash fund or credit cards for days, weeks, or even months after a disaster.

• Keep some emergency funds available on your credit cards, especially if you don’t have a cash emergency fund.

• Make it a habit to never park your vehicle with less than a quarter tank of gas. It could be days after the disaster before you can obtain gas.

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