For many caught in the trail of Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath, the next few days, weeks and months can be difficult and confusing with a number of financial issues to address.
Some will deal with severe financial loss and some will need to reassess their ability to recover and move on.
Regardless of how badly you have been affected, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some steps you should consider in light of any natural disaster.
The most valuable advice is to take time to think through your situation, absorb what has happened, and seek advice. Don’t make any important financial decisions in the wake of a disaster as these can sometimes be made irrationally. A little bit of time will give you clarity.
Assess your finances
The first step on the road to recovering financially is to formulate a plan for managing your income, expenses and any loans you may have. If you’re in need of cash, determine whether you’re eligible for disaster relief funds from federal, state, or local governments. Ensure you make every effort to keep up with bills and if you are struggling, contact suppliers to explain the situation and consider a payment plan.
Assess your losses and contact your insurer to lodge your claim quickly. Don’t panic if you don’t have your policy numbers or documents as your insurers will have these records. Claims are frequently settled in the order in which they are received so be as helpful as you can with any documentation they require. If you do not have a list of all household items, check your photos taken in your home that may help to support your claim.
Consider your work
Ensure you keep your employer up to speed with your situation if you need some extra time off. If you’ve been injured and cannot work, check your personal insurance.
Replace important documents
Assess the loss of important documents such as your driver’s licence, passport, concession cards, bank statements, investment documentation and recent bills. Make a list of such documents as best you can and make the phone calls necessary to obtain copies.
Your insurance coverage
Insurance is sometimes only valued when it comes to claim time and a disaster brings an opportunity to reconsider the role of your own insurance going forward. Evaluate whether you have the right type and amount and talk to your insurer if you feel as though you have some gaps.
An emergency fund
Once you have recovered from the disaster, take some steps to ensure you have a buffer or emergency fund equal to three to eight months of your living expenses. Keep these funds secure and easily accessible in a high interest account or offset account.
Ask for help
If you have been through a traumatic experience, don’t underestimate the effect this may have on you emotionally. Seek help from local counselling services and don’t hesitate to reach out.
Why not increase the financial savviness of those around you – pay it forward and pass on these tips to your family, friends and kids.
Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is a respected and independent financial expert. Olivia’s advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.
You can follow Olivia on Facebook or Twitter at https://twitter苏州美甲学校/oliviamaragna