Dollars & Sense: Are You Financially Prepared for an Emergency?

Watching what has taken place these past weeks with the hurricanes in the Southern States and the Caribbean really does make you think about being financially prepared for challenging events. Living in Atlantic Canada we are used to a lot of different weather, but are we as prepared as we could be?
So how can you prepare financially for unexpected events?
Review your financial situation, whether you are preparing for the unexpected or practicing good money management. Most of us go in for an annual review of our investments, but we don’t usually do a full assessment on all our assets, liabilities, insurances and financial needs.
It is heart-breaking to watch people upset because they have gone through these extreme events and they do not know whether they have certain coverages or even if they will have a place to sleep that night.
Once you have reviewed your financial situation and compiled what you have, look at your insurance policies. Not everything is covered by insurance, but if you have a good idea of what is and what is not you will be ahead of the game. Here are some questions for you to find out, what does your insurance policies cover regarding your property? Will your insurance cover car rentals? If you could not stay in your home due to damage, does your insurance cover a hotel stay? Most importantly what damage and circumstances does your insurance cover?
The following are financial best practices that will benefit you in an emergency: have cash available to get you through a couple days. If power or communication is out, cash may be your only choice in making a purchase; have a financial binder that you can easily access, store and update. This is a listing of accounts, debts, assets. You can keep copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, health card numbers and important papers; have a list in your wallet of important contact numbers (bank, insurance, etc.).
In most cases there is not enough time to go running around the house looking for things. Looking at how you can incorporate some of these ideas will help you. There are many resources that will assist you in becoming financially prepared.