Be ready for the unexpected.
We’ve all seen the destruction by Hurricane Michael to Mexico Beach, Florida and the surrounding area. Catastrophes can come in many forms: Hurricanes, tornadoes, and even man-made sources such as fires. What can you do before such an event to make your recovery shorter and more complete? Here are some suggestions:
First, in this day and age almost everyone has a camera in their phone. Most phone cameras have the ability to video as well. You need to photograph/video everything you own. In the kitchen, open the drawers and cabinets and record everything in there. Do the same in every room as well as the garage and any out buildings. After you do this, make at least one copy and keep it somewhere other than your home. I suggest you give a copy to someone in another town in case your town is wiped out. Another copy can go in a safety deposit box.
Next, along with the photographs, make a copy of all your important contact numbers and documents and make a notebook. I suggest telephone numbers for your insurance agent, investment broker or banker and closest friend or relative in another town. I put my own together a few years ago in printed form. Today you can store this information on a thumb drive or disk. Again, keep at least one copy somewhere other than your home. Be sure to review and update no less than every couple of years.
Additionally, call all your insurance agents and make sure your insurance is current and provides enough coverage for your current needs. The last thing you want is less insurance than what your home and personal property is worth. Make sure you have your personal property insured for the same or close to the same amount of coverage for your real property. Ask your agent about special riders or added coverage for important papers, computers/TV’s, artwork and jewelry.
I would give some thought to having at least one bank account in a large national bank. I personally prefer the locally owned banks in our town. However, what if the entire town is leveled, such as in Mexico Beach and your bank building is literally gone? If you keep some money in a large bank, you could drive to the nearest operating branch, get some cash and survive.
Finally, keep a survival stash in your house. It should include batteries, a flashlight, water, freeze dried food, a bandage kit, liquid soap, a roll or two of paper towels and toilet paper, a backpack, single burner stove and fuel, plastic cups and eating tools, at least a couple of gallons of water, matches, and a bag of easy-to-light charcoal, shovel and small grill grate. Check it periodically to replace stale items.
We cannot control everything around us but we can prepare for surviving the aftermath. If you have some other ideas, please share them on this blog. We appreciate your help.