Would You Like That Hurricane For Take Out?

The hurricane season runs from June through November each year. However, much like deer do not always cross at deer crossing signs, hurricanes do not limit themselves to just these months. There is also a known correlation between the solar cycle of sunspots and the intensity of hurricanes, and the next solar maximum will occur next year.

Given we are in the midst of the 2023 hurricane season, this is the time for those living along the east and gulf coasts who may be affected by hurricanes to prepare. When it comes to paperwork, there are a number of suggestions that can make sure a hurricane damaging the home doesn’t affect critical paperwork.

Hurricane Preparedness Extends To Paperwork As Well

Image of floodwaters around a house with cows on the front porch courtesy Unsplash.First, make an appointment with the home and auto insurance company to identify coverages for repairs and replacements. If they are not in line with current prices, then the coverage limits may need to be adjusted.

Second, prepare in case it is necessary to abandon the home and move to a safer location. If a claim needs to be filed, it is important to know all of the contents of the home as well as any updates. Since trying to remember everything from memory is difficult, it helps to have some assistance.

Documentation To Support Any Claims

One of the best ways is to take high-resolution photographs of the home. Take wide-angle photos of each room so it will trigger a memory of everything that was in the room. If there are objects that are more expensive, then take close-up images of those items as well. Don’t forget to take photos of clothes closet contents and the inside of refrigerators and freezers. While each item may not have a significant value, the total can add up.

Photographs should also be taken of the outside of the house, cars, boats, and other vehicles from all four sides to be able to prove its condition. If there have been significant upgrades, take close-ups of those as well. Include a photo showing the odometer reading, particularly if it is low-mileage for its age.

Download all of those images onto two USB memory sticks. Keep one with the hurricane to-go box and give the other to someone you trust who does not live in a hurricane-affected area. This also provides a back-up in case one of the memory sticks becomes unreadable.

Don’t Forget The Data On Computers

If computers are going to be left behind, create a backup of their contents on an external hard drive and put in the to-go box as well. Also document all of the software installed on the system, and at minimum copy over the documents, pictures, music, videos and desktop directories.

Instead of using an external hard drive, it may be easier to use an online backup system such as Carbonite or other continuous backup software. Being in the cloud, the data can be recovered to any new system if the old one is damaged.

Put All The Information In One Easy-To-Grab Location

The to-go box itself needs to be something that is going to be portable, but not too heavy and something that will keep your documents and digital data safe. The product that fits that requirement is the “fire-resistant” lockbox. These can be purchased quite inexpensively and will hold papers folded in half very easily, as well as having enough depth to hold an external hard drive and some USB sticks. If it has a rubber seal, it can even be water-resistant as well. The other benefit of these boxes is that when not escaping from a hurricane, they make a good safe storage container at home for these items.

What should go into the box? Put in irreplaceable legal documents such as the original Will and Powers of Attorney, original stock certificates, the hard drive if that is used to back up a computer, the memory stick with the house inventory photos and digitized documentation. The smaller size units will weigh about 10-15 lbs. and come with a key lock and handle to transport easily.

There are many websites both civil and government that provide information on how to prepare for a hurricane with food and water and other supplies. But paperwork and documentation should also be considered when putting together a hurricane plan.

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