The Norman Transcript

May 26, 2013

Don’t let your finances blow away

By Susan Moffat
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — You know the drill. When spring rolls around, get ready for the thunderstorms. Listen for the tornado sirens.  Glue yourself in front of the television watching hours and hours of storm damage coverage.

Have you gotten your records in order?  If you still haven’t gotten around to it, now is a good time to start.  Here are a few tips to get you financially prepared for this spring’s storm season:

Tip No. 1 — Get an insurance checkup

Round up all your insurance policies.  Are they all up-to-date or did you forget to increase your homeowners coverage because of that extra room you added on?  Do you have the right amount of coverage?  Make sure you know how much your deductibles are because these are the amounts you will have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in.

Tip No. 2 — Update beneficiaries

It may have been a while since you last updated the beneficiaries on your insurance policies, retirement plans, and investment and bank accounts.  Your family may have grown or you may have gotten remarried.  Do you really want your ex to be the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy?

Tip No. 3 — Take inventory of your safe deposit box or home safe

Now where did you put that key to your safe deposit box?  Find it and then go to the bank and inventory everything you have in there.  Is there anything you need to add?  Are there any original documents you may want to make a copy of to keep with you at home?

Tip No. 4 — Create a financial “grab and go” kit

In case you need to evacuate or go to a shelter, you want to be able to grab your essential documents in a hurry.  This will make it easier to file an insurance claim afterwards.  Your kit should include:

· Auto and homeowners insurance policies

· Important financial and legal records

· Passports and birth certificates

· Lists of your home inventory and safe deposit box contents (with key)

· Owner’s manuals and receipts

· List of account numbers, passwords, important web pages and phone numbers

· Flash drive containing important computer files

Tip No. 5 — Have a post-disaster plan

What if your car is damaged or destroyed?  How will your kids get to school and how will you get to work?  It may take a while to get that rental car from the insurance company. 

· If your home is damaged or destroyed, can you stay with family or friends?  There may not be a hotel nearby so you may have to travel to get to work or school. 

· What if your workplace is destroyed or damaged?  You may not get a paycheck for a while.  Now is when you need to use your emergency cash reserves — the 3 to 6 months’ of living expenses you put into a savings account for this very event.