Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Preparing Financially for a Natural Disaster


  • Obtain property (homeowners or renters) insurance
    If you do not have them. If you already have insurance, verify that your information and coverage is correct.
  • Verify that you have enough insurance and the right type of coverage
    Most homeowners insurance doesn't cover flood damage. If needed, consider buying separate flood insurance. Verify that your insurance coverage meets your needs.
  • Take an inventory of your belongings
    Start with a written inventory and supplement with a photos and videos of your home, cars, and prized possessions. Update the inventory at least once a year or whenever you make a major purchase.

Emergency Cash

  • Store emergency cash in a safe place
    If the power goes out, local merchants won’t be able to use credit card machines. Have enough cash on hand to handle purchases until power is restored.
  • Keep your emergency savings fund well stocked
    If your home is damaged or you are unable to return to work immediately after a natural disaster, you will need to rely on emergency savings.
  • Set up direct deposit and automatic bill pay
    In the aftermath of a natural disaster, the last thing you want to have to worry about is paying a utility bill or getting to a financial institution to cash a check. Consider setting up direct deposit with your employer and automatic bill pay for bills like your mortgage, utilities, etc.

Gather and Store Important Documents

Gather and store important documents in a safe place. Consider buying a safe for your home.

  • Emergency cash
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage and other family records
  • Property deeds
  • Wills
  • Insurance policies
  • Passports
  • Social security cards
  • Health and immunization records
  • Contact information of important family and friends

Additional Resources