Hurricanes are frightening. They can shatter the tranquility of a sunny day into a maelstrom of wind, rain, and debris, creating a path of devastation in their wake. And depending on where you live, it’s entirely plausible that one day you will encounter one. That’s why it’s essential to prepare for the worst, so that when the wind eventually breaks, you can start to rebuild.
When Hurricane Sandy devastated the North East coast of the US, it caused over $65 billion in damages. A significant proportion of that cost was borne by homeowners, who filed 71.5 percent of all Sandy-related insurance claims, recouping on average $6,500 per household from their providers.
This event illustrates one unassailable fact: when preparing for the worst, it’s worth considering your financial future, and how you’ll afford to start afresh after a particularly disastrous hurricane -- or any freak weather event, for that matter.
Sites like Compare.com will help you price compare homeowners insurance plans. Crucially, it’ll help you get an overview of the features of individual plans, including how much each will pay out in the event of a claim, as well as how much excess you’ll be expected to pay.
It’s also worth considering going directly to the insurers to see if you can negotiate a cheaper plan than those quoted on a comparison site. Although convenient, these online services often charge a commission, which gets passed to you, the consumer.
A house without people isn’t a home, it’s a building. To protect the people who matter in your life, it’s worth buying the essential equipment to manage a catastrophic weather event. Hurricane Sandy, for example, seriously disrupted the supply of potable water to homes, and caused long-lasting power outages.
If a hurricane is expected to land near you, it’s always a sensible idea to have a few large bottles of mineral water in your cupboard, which will allow you to stay hydrated, cook food, and clean yourself while waiting for service to be restored.
Similarly, if you’re relying on your cell phone for light and Internet access, it’s worth having a fully-charged portable battery in your closet, which you keep for emergencies.
In terms of batteries, a solid (albeit slightly expensive) choice is the Renogy Phoenix Mini 100 which retails at $159.99.
Other equipment worth buying include a well-stocked first aid kit, a sufficient supply of shelf-stable food, and basic DIY tools to perform emergency repairs.
Copy your essential documents
Traversing modern life inevitably involves physical documentation, from driver’s licenses and passports, to birth certificates and green cards. If these crucial pieces of paper and plastic get lost, it can become difficult to prove who you are.
Should the situation arise where you need to prove your identity to insurance companies and federal officials, it can be useful to have a digital copy of your original documents stored on the cloud, far from the path of destruction.
One tool that can help you accomplish that is the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner. This device makes swift work of paper documentation, rapidly creating pixel-perfect digital copies of all your essential files. And best of all, you can configure it to automatically send scanned documents to your preferred cloud storage services, like Box and DropBox.
It’s not nice to think about worst-case scenarios, but by preserving copies of your photo ID and birth certificate, you can make it easier to obtain replacements from the relevant government agencies. It’ll also come in handy when trying to obtain replacement accommodation, or deal with insurance companies.