Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Are Your Prepared For A Natural Disaster?

Natural disasters can strike anywhere, even in areas that are less prone to the massive natural disasters that usually come to mind (such as hurricanes and wildfires). While it is impossible to truly predict when a natural disaster may occur, you can minimize damage and risk of harm by being prepared. The following tips from our Lake of the Ozarks bank discuss preparedness for any natural disaster and explore insurance coverage in this unfortunate situation.

Safeguard Documents
Prepare a vital records kit with copies of important documents to store in a waterproof and fireproof container in a safe place in your home. Another option is to scan and store these documents in a cloud-based application so that it will be protected even if your home is destroyed. Yet another good option is a safe deposit box at your local community bank. Documents and items for this kit include copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, proof of vaccinations for pets, mortgages, birth and marriage certificates, and irreplaceable photos.

Disaster Supply Kit
Every household should have an emergency supply kit ready and easily accessible in case of a disaster. This kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a crank or battery operated radio with NOAA weather radio capabilities, necessary prescription medications, an emergency whistle to signal for help, a gallon of water per person and pet for at least three days, and several days’ worth of nonperishable food. Other items to consider including are pet food, a list of emergency phone numbers, and a cell phone with a battery powered charger. If possible, it’s also helpful to include three to five days’ worth of cash in the instance that ATMs are either unavailable or damaged.

Family Emergency Plan
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, and this can cause increased panic if you haven’t prepared for this situation. A family disaster plan that includes how you will contact each other and where you will meet and identifies a safe place to gather as an alternative to your home is extremely important. This plan will ensure your children know what to do, where they can go, and who they can stay with in the event of an emergency. 

Home Insurance
While it’s difficult to think about losing your home due to a natural disaster, it’s important to understand what your homeowners insurance policy does & does not cover. Since policies vary by insurance company, you shouldn’t make any assumptions as to what may or may not be covered. Most basic homeowners policies cover fire and lightning, explosion, smoke, and damage caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. Perils of hail, windstorm, vandalism, theft, and water damage may be restricted or even excluded by many policies. In coastal regions or in areas prone to windstorm or hail, it’s likely that your policy will have specific conditions, restrictions or full exclusions regarding coverage. Flood is always excluded and must be purchased through the Federal Flood Insurance Program. Other perils that are likely excluded include earthquake, water damage if related to flood or an otherwise excluded peril, sewer back-up, and nuclear accidents.

All policies have exclusions, even if you have an “all risk” policy.  If your policy contains an exclusion of coverage, ask your insurance agent to provide an option for the coverage through another carrier or specialty policy.

While putting together your disaster kit, family plan and other preparations, it’s helpful to know the available resources. The FEMA website (www.ready.gov) and the American Red Cross website (www.redcross.org/prepare) are good resources. Being prepared will help you and your family remain calm and rational when a disaster strikes, which can also save lives. Being educated about your specific homeowners insurance, what is covered and what isn’t, will help you make an informed decision about any additional coverage to purchase before a disaster hits. The bottom line is that being prepared for a natural disaster, on several fronts, will help ensure your family recovers and gets back to normal life as quickly as possible.

First Bank Of The Lake Is Here To Help
If you are looking for a safe place to store your funds, consider opening a savings account with First Bank of the Lake. As FDIC members, we are federally insured and can guarantee that your funds will be protected. We also offer safe deposit boxes at the Lake of the Ozarks as a secure place to store your important documents. For more information about our services, visit our website.

First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 348-2265

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