Preparing Financially for a Disaster Can Help You Get Through the Turmoil
Greater Texas Credit Union Offers Tips to Weather the Storm
Austin, Texas, Nov. 15, 2023 –In preparation for natural disasters, which can happen any time of year in Texas, Greater Texas Credit Union has several tips to help Texans prepare for the potential financial effects related to a disaster.
Being financially prepared helps people endure a natural disaster. It also delivers peace of mind that they have the resources to overcome the challenges.
In a natural disaster, there may only be minutes to react. Having key financial information and household records and contacts readily available makes it easier to begin the recovery process.
The first step: make sure your insurance and financial documents are in order and accurate to cover your family’s needs. Consider conducting an annual insurance checkup for all of your insurance policies.
“It’s important to have a central record of your key household information, such as bank account numbers, credit card information, passwords, insurance documents, medical ID, and important phone numbers,” said Mike Trapnell, Vice President of Real Estate and Development for Greater Texas Credit Union. “Don’t rely solely on your cellphone for storing this information, which can be problematic if there are power outages or if your phone gets damaged.
Trapnell added, “You’ll need to immediately contact your lenders and utilities to discuss deferral options. Unfortunately, even in a disaster you still have to deal with paying your bills.”
Other helpful steps:
- Keep a certain amount of cash for emergency situations in case of bank closures or inoperable ATMs
- Create a list of valuables with pictures and/or video to expedite filing a claim with your insurance company or FEMA
- Store hard copies in fireproof/waterproof containers or safes and electronic documents in password-protected formats on flash drives, external hard drives, or in the cloud
- Keep copies of your passport, driver’s license, Social Security card, marriage license, wills, deeds, financial statements, medical records, etc., in an offsite location such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted relative or friend
After a disaster, follow these steps to begin the recovery process and remain safe:
- Take pictures/video of damage
- File insurance claim
- Keep all receipts for temporary lodging, meals, or rental cars for insurance reimbursement
- Save receipts for materials/supplies purchased to make repairs and submit them to the insurance company
- Consider suspending utilities if you can’t live in the home
- Reach out to disaster aid organizations such as the Austin Disaster Relief Network, the Red Cross, or your church
- Be vigilant about suspicious contacts to avoid becoming a fraud victim
- Vet contractors and don’t pay until services are rendered
Trapnell noted, “The best way to plan for the unexpected is having a financial safety net, which you can do by establishing a savings account and setting aside enough money to cover your expenses for three to six months.”
About Greater Texas Credit Union
Greater Texas Credit Union, founded in 1952, is a financial cooperative that emphasizes community stewardship, charitable giving, and employee volunteerism through its Greater Good initiative. Together with its subsidiary, Aggieland Credit Union – which serves the Brazos Valley – the credit union offers a wide variety of consumer-oriented banking services to its 80,000 members across the state of Texas. Greater Texas has locations in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Bryan-College Station, Edinburg, and the Dallas-Ft. Worth market with assets of nearly $1 billion.