How to Manage Credit Before a Natural Disaster

Living on the East Coast it is hard to acknowledge that we are now as vulnerable to natural disasters as everyone else.  This week we were hit with an earthquake and now we are waiting for hurricane Irene to punch us with a possibly devastating blow.

I am sure most are busy preparing for the protection of thier property, home, and personal possessions but there are other assets that must be considered.  Credit is an extremely important tool and we must make sure it can manage correctly in case of emergency.

Here are some essential tips to consider before a possible disaster:

Make a list including all credit cards, mortgages, loans (car & student), and anything that you would find on a credit report. 

The list should include- Account name-  Account number-  Toll free number of creditor- Any automatic debit accounts that come directly out of each credit card (EZ pass, Health Ins., etc.).

Keep the list in an encrypted file, password protected, on your cell phone.  Put a security protected copy in your email account as well in case you lose your phone.

The list will help if there is an accident, you must leave your home due to a flood and can’t get to your cards, or you must cancel any credit cards due to theft.

Make sure to set up your payments online automatically for 2-3 months.  If you have to deal with a disaster knowing your payments will be made will ease the burden at least a little bit.  Put the transaction confirmation code on the list of credit cards for the online set up of automatic payments just in case there is a problem.

Make sure your credit card balances are low in case you need access to more funds than you expect.  Be prepared since you may find you need to stay at a hotel, travel further than expected, pay for a tow, or buy clothing and food.  In a disaster you may not be able to get cash from ATM machines so having access to funds on a credit card could become quite valuable.

If you access an account from a public computer make sure to log out before you pass it to the next person waiting in line.

Stay safe and hope this helps!