Friday, August 11, 2006

An Evacuation Kit for Your Money

There's been a lot of info about three-day emergency kits --water, canned goods, batteries-- for our homes, cars and offices. But what about a backup plan for our money?

Bank of America has a few suggestions. Of course, there's an emphasis on some of their online services, but the release has some good insights.

Living in a hurricane zone, emergency preps are apart of the household drill. Last year, we were smacked around by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Other areas of the country are also hit by floods, quakes, wildfires & turnadoes.

This release -- featured below -- is thoughtful:

"Simple Tips To Help Households Prepare For Evacuations

"By taking a few precautions beforehand, however, consumers can avoid additional stress that comes with having to temporarily leave their homes. With that in mind, Bank of America offers the following tips to help households prepare for evacuations or emergencies:


Know Before You Go – Centralize All Your Key Personal Financial Information

o Financial Institutions: Compile a list for each financial institution you have accounts and loans with, including credit card issuers

o Local Offices: If you have a designated location you plan to evacuate to, include the address of local offices, which can typically be found online.

o Secure Information: For security reasons, you do not need to include account numbers. Companies should be able to access your information with alternative information only you can provide.

Leverage Technology to Access and Protect Your Personal Finances

o Online Bill Pay: By establishing online or electronic bill pay, consumers don’t have to worry about bills reaching them through the mail, particularly if property damage keeps them from returning home.

o Online Account Access: If you bank and pay bills online, you can access your accounts, including previous statements, from any location with internet access.

o Direct Deposit: Set up direct deposit with your employer to ensure your pay will automatically be deposited to your account.

o Financial Records Disk: Copy any financial records stored on your computer to a diskette or flash drive that you can store in a safe deposit box.


Make a List of Important Names and Telephone Numbers

o Contact information for your mortgage service and/or home equity lender.

o Compile a list of home repair services you use such as roofers or tree removal companies. Check with your insurance company to see if it requires you to use pre-approved vendors.

o Additional contacts to consider including:

o Relatives

o Physicians

o Employer help-line

o Accountant

o Attorney

o Bank

o Credit card company

o Home, auto and health insurance contacts and policy numbers

o Home repair services/contractors

o Investment advisor

o Mortgage service

o Tax advisor

o Utility companies (phone, power, cell phone provider, cable, internet service provider)


Pack a Financial “Go Bag”

o Include your contact lists along with photos of the interior and exterior of your home and an inventory of valuable contents.

o Have extra cash on hand, including small bills and coins. In addition to ample emergency savings, you may want to ensure you have credit available on a credit card for emergencies.

o Information you would need in applying for a loan, such as recent pay stubs and recent tax returns, can be beneficial to have with you.

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