Know Your Options: Working Through the Financial Impact of Disasters
- February 17, 2021
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Whether facing an unexpected natural disaster, or the continued challenges of ongoing national emergencies, you can never be too prepared for the financial impact to you and your household.
Sometimes having a game plan can reduce stress, even when faced with unexpected emergencies. Here are suggestions to manage the financial impact.
1. If you haven’t already, contact your insurance companies to file a claim. Whether it’s auto, home, fire or flood damage, your insurance company will help you take the necessary steps to make a claim. Don’t forget to take photos of any damage – use your smartphone and save the photos to a cloud-based account. This will help you make an inventory and prove damage.
2. Contact your credit card and mortgage companies, and other creditors. If the disaster, such as a catastrophic weather event, fire, or even an ongoing pandemic, affects your ability to make debt or housing payments on time, your creditors may waive late fees or even allow a deferred payment. GreenPath Financial Wellness is available to help you communicate with your creditors or lenders and can offer additional financial guidance. Start with a free consultation from someone who has your interests at heart
3. Check your credit report. Go to annualcreditreport.com for a free copy of your credit report. If you notice that late payments have affected your score, you can add a short statement to your report explaining your situation. You still may see some impact on your credit report, but it can help with future lenders.
4. If you can’t live in your home due to damage, call your utility companies. It’s better to reach out to your utility companies as soon as you can. Utilities can put a stop to your bills if you are not living in the home or not receiving utility services. Connecting with utility companies lets you understand any options or relief programs that may make available.
5. Look into other special programs that may offer assistance. For example, you may be eligible for veteran benefits, or assistance from FEMA or the American Red Cross. Other government and debt relief options are available due to COVID.
6. Talk to us! Remember you are not alone. Our NFCC-certified counselors help you begin a conversation about where you are today as you manage through the emergency, and what you need to accomplish your goals. We guide you through a process to assess your financial situation, understand your specific challenges, and create an action plan to work through them.
Having a national nonprofit resource like GreenPath is critical during a time of challenge. We listen with respect, offer advice and information, and suggest options that could help you meet your needs.
For more assistance, we are here for you.