smart spending

How to prepare for natural disasters

Keep your head
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Keep your head

If Mother Nature delivers her worst and your property is damaged or destroyed, you'll need time to recover from the blow. But as rapidly as possible, recoup and get your financial affairs in order. "Time is an insurance company's friend," says Darras. Always keep handy copies of your insurance policies with your agent's contact information so you can quickly report your losses, he says.

Try not to lose sight of the smaller financial losses, which can quickly add up. Contact utilities providers to confirm you aren't being billed for interrupted service, says Karen Carlson, director of education at InCharge Debt Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Florida. She also recommends contacting creditors to discuss suspending or restructuring payments. "In most cases, (creditors) have relief programs for customers that have been impacted by disaster."


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