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Are you prepared for a natural disaster? Do these things now

With more damaging storms than ever in recent years, you need to be prepared
Midwest Tornadoes
Posted at 7:15 AM, Apr 05, 2024

With Mother Nature unleashing its fury in the form of devastating flooding and deadly tornado outbreaks just four months into 2024, it is obvious that severe weather can strike at any moment.

Unfortunately, most of us are not prepared, either financially or emotionally.

Ohio storm victim Jenny Beverage surveyed the damage to her home in March and said it was "definitely an eye opener when I saw it after daylight."

So far, the National Weather Service reports around 200 tornadoes touching down in 2024, according to preliminary data.And this past week, heavy rains flooded homes across the Midwest.

It left Jim Comadecca and Lindsay Stricker of Cincinnati with a mud-filled home.

"The walls, the carpet, and I had some music equipment damaged as well," he said.

Worse, their insurance agent explained that since they don't carry flood insurance, "They don't cover this type of storm damage when the water comes from the outside," Stricker said.

How to prepare yourself for a disaster

Fifty-seven percent of Americans have faced unexpected costs due to extreme weather over the past decade for home repairs, along with hidden costs like hotel rooms, rental cars, laundromats, and food, according to Bankrate.

That's why experts recommend you have a plan to prepare and recover from natural disasters.

Licensed insurance agent and analyst forBankrate.comShannon Martin says, "The first step is to know what natural disasters can impact you."

She says you need to understand your insurance coverage as it relates to your climate, whether you are in a tornado —, flood —, hurricane-, or fire-prone area.

Then, she says :

  • Keep financial documents safe, such as in a safe or a basement file cabinet
  • Take photos or a video of furniture, electronics, and valuable
  • Have the name of a trustworthy contractor on hand
  • Always be working on your emergency fund

Then, if severe weather impacts you, take extensive notes and photos and file an insurance claim immediately.
Martin says the sooner you apply for financial assistance, the better.

"Those funds don't stay there forever. They deplete very quickly," she said.

Lastly, reach out to friends and local agencies for help.

"We've had a lot of people offer to help us," storm victim Jenny Beverage said.

That was the most helpful of all.

And that way, you don't waste your money.

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