Natural Disaster: 5 Steps to take to be financially prepared
Natural disasters are a frequent occurrence in India, and when they strike, they can leave you devastated physically, emotionally and financially. While large parts of North India, especially in the Himalayan foothills, are prone to earthquakes, the country’s Southern and Eastern coastlines are vulnerable to cyclones and violent storms, and flooding is also a common occurrence in other parts of the country.
Global warming could lead to extreme weather events, and the incidence of events like cyclones, severe storms, flooding and avalanches could become much more frequent in the years to come. However, to see a silver lining to this cloud, we seem to be better at handling natural disasters better. For example, in 2019, millions of people were moved from Cyclone Fani’s path in Orissa to higher ground and cyclone shelters and thus may have saved thousands of lives.
For all that, the level of disaster preparedness is still very low in India. There is a lack of information about how to take precautions for natural disasters and how you can go about resuming normal life after these catastrophic events. Survivors not only have to to try and cope with the loss of loved ones, but they also have to face the difficult task of dealing with the loss of homes and assets and try and restore the financial stability they’ve spent years building and developing.
But while you may not be able to stop the fury of mother nature, or escape its outcome, you can take measures to do some financial planning for disasters so that you are not left penniless at least. This disaster preparedness will allow you to rebuild and resume your life as soon as possible.
Therefore, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to protect your home and financial assets, especially if you live in a disaster-prone area. Even if you don’t live in such a zone, everyone should have a degree of disaster preparedness as these events could strike anywhere.
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself to minimise any effects of natural calamities:
Step 1: Protecting home and family
This is the first essential step in disaster preparedness. You need to ensure that there are protocols in place for the protection of your family and your house, right in the beginning. For example, buy a home with strong foundations with proper quake-proof measures if you live in earthquake-prone areas. If you live in areas prone to cyclones, it may be better to build sturdy houses that aren’t too close to the shoreline. Avoid building homes in low-lying areas to escape flooding.
Step 2: Opt for digital document storage
Your documents such as Aadhaar, PAN, passport or driving licence are essential. Even documents such as your medical, academic or employment records are crucial. But if calamity strikes, there is a possibility that you may lose your documents. This can make rebuilding your life much more difficult. So why risk this?
To prepare for such cases, you can easily keep digital copies of your relevant documents online in a secure storage account, such as the DigiLocker, the national digital locker system of the Government of India.
To store your documents digitally, you only need to:
- Log onto the website.
- Simply sign upwith your mobile
- Synch your Aadhaar details
- Get your document from issuers
- Share documents with requesters
- Documents get verified
Step 3: Invest in Home Insurance
Home Insurance is an essential pillar of disaster preparedness. Home Insurance plans generally cover any damage to your home and its contents such as electronic equipment, furniture and furnishings, jewellery, clothes etc. You can get protection against natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fire and lightning, among many others. In the event of your home or its contents being destroyed in a natural disaster, the home insurance will provide you with the proper market value funding to rebuild your home or replace your lost or damaged contents.
Know more on the importance of Home Insurance here today.
Step 4: Opt for life insurance
Another critical aspect of disaster preparedness is life insurance. If you are the sole breadwinner of your family, a Life Insurance policy is a sensible idea. There is no telling what can happen during a disaster, and you do not want your family to fend for themselves if something does happen to you. A good life insurance policy will help your family get back on its feet if a tragedy should occur.
Step 5: Keep emergency cash on hand
Survivors of hurricanes in Florida, USA, have learnt the hard way to always keep some cash around the house in case of natural disasters. During such scenarios, there is still a threat of power outages, and consequently, ATMs and other electronic means of money transactions may not work for quite a while. In this case, cash can help you meet crucial or urgent needs until power is restored, and you can use the ATMs again.
Disaster preparedness is not just about disaster management, but also about rehabilitation for life afterwards. Financial planning for natural disasters can go a long way towards helping you resume normal life with little hiccups. So Natural Disaster Insurance should be an essential part of your precautions for such events. So, be safe and self-insure with the best HDFC insurance policies.
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*The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice from before you take any/refrain from any action. All information is subject to the relevant Act, Rules, Regulations, Policy Statements, etc., of the respective insurance provider and subject to change. Viewers are advised to verify the content before applying for the insurance.