Key Biscayne residents have seen their fair share of hurricanes and know storms can turn on a dime. With NOAA’s prediction of 13-20 named storms this hurricane season, it is crucial for locals to prepare their finances in the event of a power outage, water damage, or evacuations.
According to FEMA’s most recent annual hurricane preparedness survey, only 48 percent of Americans have emergency plans for disasters. In fact, most Americans do not factor finances into their evacuation and safety preparations.
Hurricane Elsa’s recent landfall serves as a reminder that there is no better time than now to get your “financial house” in order. As a bank with 83 branches across Florida (including Alhambra Plaza in Coral Gables), Centennial Bank recommends the following hurricane banking tips:
Cash is king: Withdraw a week’s worth of living expenses in the event of fallen power lines and/or trees, it is important to have extra cash on hand to help with cleanup. Most bans offer drive-through ATMs and interactive teller machines that can be accessed when bank lobbies are closed.
Have your bank on speed dial: Familiarize yourself with your local branch’s special services and hurricane evacuation plan in the event of a storm. Check to see if your bank provides mobile ATMs (as Centennial does, in select areas) as a resource to customers in the event of power outages or difficulty traveling to a physical branch.
24/7 access: Download your bank’s mobile app and ensure all accounts are set-up digitally so you can access funds from anywhere in the country. Do not forget to save your mobile banking username and password in a safe place.
Get your camera ready: Scan and/or photograph your most important personal and banking documents (i.e., IDs, titles, deeds, birth certificates, social security cards). It is always a good idea to keep important documents in a water-safe area or sealed bag in the event of a flood.
Keep an “eye” out for scams: After storms, banking scams are unfortunately a common occurrence. Be on the alert for suspicious phone calls, mail, texts, emails, etc. from companies/individuals pretending to be your bank.
When in doubt, get in touch with your local banker to ensure your account information is up-to-date and to learn more about the services they offer in the event of an emergency.
Making accommodations to have extra cash on hand, reaching out to your local branch, taking photos of important documents, double-checking your access to your bank’s mobile app does not take more than a few hours. These simple tips can save you time and money in the long run.
Druey is Florida Regional President for Centennial Bank, www.my100bank.com