This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.
Emergency preparedness experts recommend that you have a “go bag” and a “stay bin” for disasters: kits with supplies to help you survive a few days if you have to evacuate your home or shelter in place.
Preparing your finances for natural disasters is also smart. Having cash on hand, access to credit and the right insurance coverage can help you get through perilous times. Fortifying your home against disasters also can be a good investment.
Not everyone can make these preparations, of course. People with the fewest resources often suffer the brunt of disasters. But anything you can do to bolster your situation now could help you limit the toll.
Stash some cash
Having cash on hand could help you pay for groceries, gas, shelter and other necessities if ATMs and payment systems aren’t functioning, which could happen if the power goes out or cyberattacks knock systems offline.
You may need more than you think, especially if you’re away from your home for more than a few days. Insurance consumer advocate Amy Bach recommends keeping at least $2,000 in a safe place somewhere in your home. After a widespread disaster, there is often “incredible competition” for rentals and other lodging, and a cash deposit could help you secure a place to stay, says Bach, executive director of the nonprofit United Policyholders.
The currency should be in addition to any emergency savings you have at the bank. Again, anything is better than nothing. While financial planners typically recommend an emergency fund equal to three to six months of expenses, even a couple hundred dollars can help you cope.
Read: With interest rates incredibly low and the stock market doing so well, how much should I keep in liquid assets?
Get some credit
Your insurance may have high deductibles or other limitations on your coverage that require you to pay thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. Earthquake and hurricane policies, for example, often have deductibles of 10% or more of the insured value. Insurers also may limit how much they pay for upgrades needed to meet current building codes or for replacing older roofs, Bach says.
A home equity line of credit can give you access to a relatively inexpensive source of money in an emergency. You’ll need to set this up long before disaster strikes, since lenders won’t let you borrow against a damaged home. Resist the urge to tap this credit for other purposes, so that the money is available when you need it.
An alternative if you’re a …….