Featured Image With Hurricane Florence’s impending landfall you may be filling up your pantry with bottled water, flashlights, extra batteries and canned goods but don’t forget to ensure your finances are also prepped for the storm. Have cash on hand. A natural disaster can cause electricity and internet to be out for extended periods causing debit and credit machines to operate “offline” or not at all. So all transactions must be made in cash. If power gets cut off you won’t have access to ATMs to get cash. Make sure to keep the money in small bills, since it might be hard to get change. Safeguard important documents. In case you need to evacuate your home, you should have important personal and financial records in one place where you can grab them on the run. Key documents include items like your social security card, home deed, medical insurance card, copies of your driver’s license, birth certificates and stocks and bond certificates. Also, if you use prescription medicines be sure to make a copy. Be sure you put them in a Ziploc baggie to keep them as dry as possible. Review your insurance policy. Though it may be too late to update the terms of your policy, it’s a good idea to review your coverage and make sure you have your insurer’s contact information on hand. Be ready to submit any insurance claims immediately after a disaster, usually claims are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you file, the sooner they’ll be addressed. Take inventory of your stuff. If you end up needing to file an insurance claim for lost possessions after a storm, having the contents of your home, especially expensive items like a leather sofa or big screen will make the process much easier. Make your inventory as specific and comprehensive as possible. For example, Include the serial number on appliances and TV’s. It doesn’t hurt to include photographs or a video walk through of the exterior and interior of your home. Set up your bills to autopay. If you have to evacuate your home, your initial thoughts will be for the safety of your family, friends and fur babies. You don’t want to worry about missing payments if you’re unable to get home or access your bank. Setting up automatic Bill Pay can help you avoid late fees if there’s no way to mail a check or if power is out and you can’t pay online. With any luck, all this preparation will be unnecessary, but it’s better to financially safe than sorry. Audra F. Hi, I’m Audra! I’m a marketing specialist here at VACU. I joined VACU right out of college at VCU 5 years ago. In that time, I got engaged, married my college sweetheart and had two babies; a girl and a boy. I’ve learned a lot about finances working at the credit union, but even more from navigating these life changes. So I’m excited to share my personal financial journey with you and what I’m learning along the way. Other stories by Audra F.