In addition to preparing for your personal safety should a hurricane strike, you need to prepare for the financial challenges associated with a hurricane like having access to cash, financial services, and personal identification should you need to pay for supplies, temporary housing, or to conduct your personal financial matters. Here are some practical tips that can help you prepare.
Financial Preparations Before A Hurricane Strikes:
Get Cash and Travelers’ Checks Early!
During and after a storm, power outages and downed communication lines are a common occurrence. As a result, you may experience difficulty using credit and debit cards so it’s always good to have an adequate supply of cash on hand. As a storm approaches, businesses have to close in advance to protect the safety of their employees. So plan and get your cash ahead of time!
Order Checks & Deposit Slips!
Make sure that you have enough checks and deposit slips to last two months, and take them with you if you evacuate, even if you rarely write checks. In the midst of a disaster, your payment habits may require change and by having your account information handy you can quickly authorize an important payment over the phone. If you need to replenish your supply, re-order from our website www.sttammanyfcu.org or call us at 985-643-1237.
Debit, Credit & ATM Cards – Confirm Expiration Dates and PINs, and Activate Cards!
Check the expiration dates on all of your plastic cards and make certain that dates are current and your cards are valid. Also, take a moment to locate your PINs and make certain that all of your cards have been activated. Be sure to successfully use each of your cards, at least once, before the threat of a hurricane.
Sign Up for Direct Deposit!
Direct Deposit gives you the confidence that your money will be in your account, available for use, when it is supposed to be, even if you are evacuated and a hurricane disrupts mail service. With Direct Deposit you don’t have to wait on your check to arrive in the mail and you don’t have to worry about important deposit checks being lost, misplaced, or stolen— they are automatically deposited into your accounts. Plus, you never have to concern yourself with the hassle of having a missing deposit check reissued. Contact your employer and sign up for Direct Deposit today…it’s easy, it’s secure, and it’s FREE!
Sign Up for E-Statements!
When a hurricane strikes, mail service is always disrupted especially when an evacuation occurs. To ensure that your account statements arrive on time, sign up for E-Statements and start receiving your account statements online. They’re available to you thru a secure link on our Web site and you can access them via any Internet connection, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. E-Statements are the most secure way to receive your account statements year round so sign up online today!
Before you find yourself away from home and unable to access your information, take a few moments to verify the account numbers, passwords, and PINs on all of your accounts; financial, insurance, and the like.
Do you have your “ready kit” ready?
Some people call this a “Go Kit,” or “Safety Sack.” Whatever you call it, your family should have one put together. Some things you should consider putting in your kit include:
· Important papers (and keys to your lock box)
· Cash ($300 suggested)
· Medications for several weeks
· Water for three days (2 liters/person/day recommended)
· Cell Phone (with extra batteries and car charger)
· Radio (consider a hand crank that doesn’t need batteries)
· Candles, lighter or waterproof matches
· Cards & other simple games for children
· Paperback books
· Address book or phone numbers of family
Store your kit where it will be immediately available if you have to evacuate quickly. Some suggest keeping it in the trunk of your car, while others say that candles and chocolate melt, the water bottles leak, etc. You decide.
Tips to Help You Handle Your Financial Matters During an Evacuation:FREE Shared Branching Account Access!
If one of our office locations isn’t available, or isn’t convenient to you, you can access your STFCU accounts at more than 5,000 Shared Branches across the United States and Canada. Shared Branches are a network of Credit Unions working together to provide members with access to their Credit Union accounts at more locations, more conveniently, than ever before. STFCU members may visit any of the many locations within the network to conduct financial transactions. Members may make deposits, withdrawals, balance inquiries, loan payments, and much more all without incurring any service fees. To access your accounts at Shared Branches, you will need your STFCU account number and a valid photo ID.
For Shared Branch locations near you, click here or call 1-888-SITECOOP (748-3266). Important Documents – Check Expiration Dates, Copy, and Pack...
Driver’s license or state issued identification card, birth certificate, Social Security card, insurance cards and policies (health, life, auto, homeowners, etc.), employer or school I.D., voter registration card, most recent account statements (deposit, checking, investment, credit cards, and loans), etc. — for you and all immediate family members. These documents will be needed if you, or a family member, have to prove your identity, claim benefits, make withdrawals, deposits, payments, or change account information. Make certain beforehand that all documents have valid expiration dates, and make copies (either photo or scanned) for storage in a safe place for easy access should you get separated from your documents. Pack documents in waterproof plastic bags and be prepared to take them with you if you have to evacuate!