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How to prepare for natural disasters

Evaluate insurance
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Evaluate insurance

Don't have a financial plan? At a minimum, review your insurance policies annually to ensure your property is sufficiently covered. Many homeowners neglect to update their policies after making improvements to their property, says Hocutt. This can mean having to absorb a substantial loss when misfortune occurs.

An even bigger financial mistake people make is failing to understand the extent of their insurance coverage. "Most people think hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and earthquake are covered under their homeowners policies, (but) they are not," says Frank Darras of DarrasLaw, a California law firm specializing in representing insurance policyholders. "Separate coverage is available and needs to be considered no matter where you live."

Whether to obtain flood insurance is an especially important consideration. "Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past doesn't mean you won't in the future," says a FEMA official via email. "Nearly 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas ... anyone can be financially vulnerable."

The federal government provides flood insurance to qualifying individuals. To find a local agent and assess your risk, visit FloodSmart.gov.


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