Given the events of 2020--combined with the heightened risk for fires on the West Coast thanks to climate change--I've learned you can never be too prepared, especially with your finances.
According to Ready.gov (2021), having access to personal financial, insurance, medical records, and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently.
The statistics on emergency preparedness are staggering. For example, Annuity.org (2021):
Approximately 40 percent of Americans have no plan for handling an emergency.
About 55 percent of Americans worry about an unplanned financial emergency.
Six in 10 Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense.
Getting Your Insurance In Order
Insurance is that thing you always hate to pay for because you hope you won't need it...until you do.
You'll want to start by making sure your home and auto insurance are sufficient to cover your needs. This advice applies to everyone across the country -- from fires to tornados to hurricanes to blizzards.
You'll want to check your state and local specifications to make sure you're covered for everything. Some insurance may require an additional coverage or special rider to cover a potential situation or loss. Every municipality will have its own rules and regulations, so be sure you know what yours are.
Also, make sure it makes sense to pay for extra coverage. In some cases, it might be better to self-insure.
If you have valuable items like art or jewelry, you'll want to consider a special rider to cover those items as well.
Here are some practical things you can do:
Review your insurance coverage
Check your state and local exceptions to see if you need special riders
Evaluate the value of your more expensive items to see if they require a special rider
Video the contents of your home once a year (remember to open cabinets and drawers too)
Other Ways to Prepare
Check your healthcare policy:
If you need insurance through the Affordable Care Act, check out Covered California for California residents.
Each state has its own ACA program and website.
You could also talk to an insurance broker who can look into different policies.
If you have insurance through your employer, review your options each year during open enrollment to ensure you have the coverage you and your family need.
Make sure your estate planning is in order:
Power of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney
Prepare for your children's future:
Consider opening a 529 plan to prepare for your child's upcoming college savings.
Consider the best investments for your family.
Align your money with your values so you can make a difference in the world that will better all children's futures.
While it's never fun to plan for disasters, it's even more upsetting to experience one without a plan.
If you're unsure where to begin or would like to discuss your options, I'd love to talk!
The Sweet Side of Finance
Tune in to the blog at the end of the month for my latest recipe (which my newsletter readers already know about).
Since we're talking about disaster preparedness, I once again turned to my grandmother's recipes! Who better to prepare us than those who lived through the Great Depression and world wars?