The first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Florence caused severe and extensive damage in the Carolinas in September 2018. The latest CNN report says that according to forecasters, parts of Georgetown County will see at least 10 feet of flooding. Based on this forecast, authorities in Georgetown County, South Carolina, are advising thousands of people to evacuate ahead of historic flooding in an area where multiple swollen rivers converge. Document scanning services can be of great support to safeguard your valuable documents, while you prepare for thus hurricane.
Even before the storm hits you, make sure you stay safe, planned and prepared. A Forbes article says that according to a survey by BELFOR Property Restoration, 60% of homeowners don’t have a disaster preparedness plan. Nearly half say they haven’t thought about it, and 45% don’t know what items to have on hand during an emergency.
Here are a few tips to plan and prepare.
Have wind coverage
For those living in a hurricane-prone area, make sure to review your insurance plans to cover natural disasters. Homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance policies are available that protect homeowners from natural disasters. Make sure you are not choosing any non-wind policies, as there is no coverage for any hurricane or tropical storm wind coverage on them.
Scan and store your documents
According to experts from Clemson University, keeping important papers safe from fire or flood in a fire-resistant/waterproof file box, or in digital format can help to speed up any insurance claims following a disaster.
These researchers suggest a list of valuable documents to be kept in a safe deposit box or other secure location which include:
- Copies of insurance policies
- Income tax returns
- Copyrights and patents
- Certificates of stocks, bonds, etc
- Social Security cards
- Copies of wills
- Marriage licenses
- Immunization and medical records
They also recommend keeping valuable papers such as safe deposit records, guarantees and warranties, loan payment books, employee benefits, copies of veterinary and/or vaccination records and list of logins and passwords for accessing online accounts at home in watertight, fireproof locked boxes.
You can even consider scanning documents and storing it in an electronic format. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also accepts scanned receipts. However, it is important to ensure that your scanned or electronic receipts are as accurate as paper records. Those documents must be organized, and you must be able to produce them in a hard copy form if required. Reliable cloud services are also available that allow to easily and securely store the important information. With such cloud platforms, you can retrieve documents immediately even in an emergency. Individuals as well as businesses can even make use of the IRS’ disaster-loss workbook to compile lists of belongings or business equipment.
Pack an emergency kit
While packing an emergency kit, Red Cross has recommended carrying supplies such as water and food for at least three days, extra batteries, first aid kit, tool kit, necessary medications, copies of personal documents, sanitation and personal hygiene items, emergency blanket, insect repellent and sunscreens, baby supplies and more. Also, make sure to consider provisions for those with special needs, such as older people.
Take images of properties
After the hurricane, insurance carriers will generally only pay out if the damage comes from a single, covered event. It is ideal to take pictures of home and property before any damage occurs, which would serve as proof while submitting insurance claims later. It would clearly show that whatever damage occurred was caused by the storm.
If there’s enough time, consider boarding up your windows to prevent leaks and broken glass and secure doors with storm shutters. Rely on an experienced document scanning company to get your documents digitized much faster. It is also ideal to pay your bills before the storm strikes, as the internet may get interrupted during such a disaster.