Build a safe room for protection

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If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes or both, a safe room might protect you from harm within your home, even amid the most destructive storms. I’m Doug Whiteman with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

There have been documented cases of entire families emerging unscathed from safe rooms after storms that wiped out entire neighborhoods. A safe room is a specially reinforced area in your home that can serve double-duty for another use such as a closet or bathroom. Or it could be a stand-alone room in the garage or a shelter outside the house.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says including an 8-foot-by-8-foot safe room in a new home under construction can cost up to $8,700. A 14-foot-by-14-foot safe room can cost as much as $14,300.

You might be able to get financial assistance. For example, a program in Oklahoma offers up to $2,000 toward the cost of a new safe room. Residents who’ve lost homes to tornadoes are given priority.

For more about how to disaster-proof your life and finances, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Doug Whiteman.