When a natural disaster strikes, the immediate focus is on safety. But after the disaster is over, it’s time to assess the damage and take action to move forward.
Here are four financial steps to take after a natural disaster.
Review your cash flow.
Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to take time from work which could impact your income. In these situations, talk with your employer about options. You may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the state.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Disaster Unemployment Assistance “provides unemployment benefits for individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment or who are no longer working as a direct result of a major disaster for which a disaster assistance period is declared, and who applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits”.
Review your expenses.
If you are unable to return home or need to cut back on spending, evaluate your expenses to see if there are any you can temporarily cancel. For example, consider calling your cable/internet companies to suspend service. Call the companies as soon as possible to explain the situation and see what options are available.
For basic necessities such as food and clothing, reach out to organizations providing disaster relief for information and assistance.
If you purchase anything as a result of the disaster, keep the receipts. You may need them for taxes, insurance, and any assistance programs.
Notify your creditors.
If you have a mortgage, auto loan, personal loans, etc. call your creditors and let them know what happened. You may need to discuss payment options, especially if you are unable to work or if you know you may not be able to make an upcoming payment. Additionally, if something has been damaged, you’ll want to let them know and follow up after you’ve talked with your insurance companies.
Talk with your insurers and document your damage.
Be sure to call your insurance companies (home, renter’s, auto) and bring them up to date. If you haven’t done so already, take some time to create an inventory that outlines what all was lost or damaged. If there is any damage, be sure to take pictures and document what took place. Your insurance company will provide you with specifics on what to do and how to move forward.
Don’t sign any final payments/bills until you have had an adequate amount of time to survey damage. Sometimes it can take weeks before you may notice any damage.
A+FCU is here to help.
Download the A+ Mobile App to access your online banking at any time. You can transfer funds between shares, make loan payments, deposit checks, conduct Member to Member transfers, and more.
Surcharge-free ATMs can be found through Visa ATM Alliance search feature. Be sure to filter for “Plus Alliance ATMs” by checking the box under the search bar.
As your credit union, we’re always here to help if you need assistance. Please call us at 512.302.6800 to discuss options.
- Office of the Texas Governor – Texas Hurricane Center
- National Hurricane Center
- United Way of Houston After the Storm Resource Guide
- United Way of Florida
- Wise Giving After a Hurricane
- SBA Disaster Assistance
- How to File a Flood Insurance Claim
- Guide to Settling Insurance Claims After a Disaster