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Be Prepared

| Leslie Kelly

June is here and with it comes the next hurricane season.

As we approach another hurricane season, please take the time to create an up to date comprehensive list of all your possessions, important papers, and legal documents in an easily accessible, portable file.

We have hundreds of clients in parts of the country who are at risk for extreme weather so we prepared this email of suggestions for steps you can take to protect yourselves.

Retention of records:

Store paper copies in a waterproof/fireproof box, safe, or bank deposit box (consider giving more than one person access to the safe deposit box such as your spouse or adult child). Leave copies with trusted relatives or friends. Secure electronic copies with strong passwords or save them on a flash drive or external hard drive in your waterproof box or safe that can be taken with you along with your medications, emergency foods, clothing, etc. in the event of an evacuation. Electronic files may also be retained in your bank deposit box. It may be time consuming now but will save you hours or days or weeks of time and aggravation.

  • Emergency contact numbers
  • List of medications and medical issues, if any
  • Copies of driver's licenses, passport, credit cards, debit cards, Social Security card, Medicare card, birth certificates, marriage documentation, divorce documentation.
  • Names and phone numbers of primary care physicians, estate planning attorney, accountant, financial advisors(s), and veterinarian.
  • Copy of health insurance card(s)
  • Copy of life insurance policy number, agent name, and number
  • Copy of homeowner's declaration page with policy number and agent number
  • Copy of the deed to the home
  • Copy of auto insurance declaration page
  • Copy of Autoregistration
  • Photos of personal property in the home – video of rooms are good but inventory list should accompany.
  • Consider having your most important photographs and documents such as college degrees, etc. scanned and saved on this flash drive or on a CD and kept with your important papers.
  • Copy of your wills and trusts. Keep originals with your attorney but make sure you save his/her name and contact information on your emergency list.
  • Pets-vaccination records
  • Make sure all pets have collars, tags and/or microchipped. If your pet is chipped, make sure the contact information on the chip is updated and current.
  • Children up-to-date photographs with names, ages and your contact information in the event you are separated. Also, retain lists/photos of all jewelry for insurance purposes with copies of appraisals if appropriate.

While this may seem like a difficult task, itis far better to be prepared and never need this information than not to be prepared and do. Also, it can serve as the resource for your heirs as part of your survivors’ checklist.

Flood insurance: many people do not know that their homeowner’s insurance typically covers just damage from wind and does not cover flooding. It normally will cover water damage if the wind blows out a window or takes off your roof, permitting water to enter your home. It does not cover you if water rushes through the floorboards or walls. According to a recent Associated Press article, only about 20% of the homeowners in Harvey’spath of destruction have flood insurance. Even if you are NOT in a flood zone, it pays to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to obtain flood insurance. Generally, it is inexpensive. Information directly from FEMA is attached.

We can all hope to get through this stormy season unscathed, but being prepared is certainly the best way to protect yourselves.


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