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You Can Be Financially Prepared for Emergencies by Knowing These Basics

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With the increase in occurrences of natural disasters and the continued uncertainty surrounding public health, we've come to realize that being financially prepared for emergencies is definitely a must. We hope disasters never affect us and our families. At the same time, we want to minimize risks and make sure we stay safe in any situation.

Prepare for emergencies

The CDC has said that about half of all U.S. adults are not prepared for emergencies. If you want to be in the other half, you need to plan for disasters beforehand. This way, you can stay organized and keep a cool head when problems come. For example, keeping all your important information together comes in handy if you have to apply for disaster assistance. Be sure to keep both paper and digital copies of all your information.

To be financially prepared for an emergency, you may need personal, medical and financial information:
  • Personal. Some examples of personal information are a photo ID, birth certificate, marriage license, passport and Social Security card. Keep these documents secure. You might choose to store them in a fireproof container where you can find them quickly during any emergency.
  • Medical. Gather health insurance cards, life insurance policies, any current medications or prescriptions, immunization records and other important information you may need to present for medical care.
  • Financial. Some important examples of financial information are bank account numbers, bills and utilities, tax returns, homeowner's and flood insurance policies and warranties, your mortgage or lease agreement, and anything else you might need to have easy access to in an emergency. By keeping all your financial records in one place, you can make it easier when it comes time to maintain payments.
You'll also benefit from documenting and photographing all your valuables and assets. Doing so will make it easier and faster to account for assets if you ever have to file an insurance claim on your property.

Setting up an emergency savings account now gives you time to build up funds you can use for an emergency. Consider setting up electronic and automatic deposits and payments so you won't have to go to a branch or make payments. Remember, you are still responsible for paying your bills in the event of an emergency or disaster.

For more information, see FEMA’s Emergency Financial Aid Kit (EFFAK) checklists and forms. You can use them to get started with collecting your information. You can also visit the CDC website to learn more about the types of resources and plans you should have in case of an emergency.

Recover from an emergency

It might take a long time to recover from an emergency. But if you stay financially prepared and have easy access to your personal, medical and financial data, it will help. You'll have more time to deal with other issues, like your job, insurance claims and disaster relief programs. Here are some other steps to speed up the recovery process:
  • Talk to your employer. In an emergency, you’ll likely miss work. If this happens, talk to your employer about your situation so you can stay on top of your income and expenses. If you expect to be gone for a while, ask how you can arrange an alternate or remote work schedule.
  • Talk to your insurance company. This is when you bring out your list of valuables and assets. Before throwing away anything, take photos of the property you are claiming. While your insurance company will be busy with claims, continue communicating with them to resolve your claim easier.
  • Seek assistance and relief. You’ll likely need to provide personal, medical and financial information to apply for assistance or relief. Contact local, state and federal agencies for disaster relief funds. For example, you can visit to find out about disaster relief assistance and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Talk to your billers. Call your mortgage provider, utility company, credit card issuer, etc. to explain the situation. Many will work with you to accommodate your situation during an emergency.
Emergencies can stress you out, but you can recover faster by staying involved with your community and up to date with information. Often, you can learn more from other people in your area who have been affected by the same emergency.

Be prepared with Power Financial Credit Union

Members of Power Financial Credit Union have access to financial education and resources that help them stay financially prepared for any emergency.

We offer a shared branch network, 24/7 account access via mobile and online banking, and so much more. This means you can count on us to help you be financially prepared no matter what.

For 70 years we have served our almost 35,000 members across South Florida through hurricanes, pandemics and everything in between. We are always here for you, especially in bad times when you need us the most.

Contact us today to see how we can help you and your family.