By David Druey, Centennial Bank, Florida Regional President
Floridians have seen their fair share of hurricanes and know storms can turn on a dime. With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) prediction of 13 to 20 named storms this hurricane season, it is crucial for locals to prepare their finances in the event of a power outage, water damage or evacuations.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) most recent annual hurricane preparedness survey, only 48% of Americans have emergency plans for disasters. In fact, most Americans do not factor finances into their evacuation and safety preparations.
Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa’s recent landfall in Florida serves as a reminder that there is no better time than now to get your “financial house” in order. As a customer-focused bank with 83 branches across the state of Florida, we recommend the following hurricane banking tips:
- Keep cash on hand. Withdraw a week’s worth of living expenses in the event of fallen power lines and/or trees. It is important to have extra cash on hand to help with cleanup. Most banks, like several of Centennial Bank’s branches, offer drive-through ATMs and interactive teller machines that can be accessed when bank lobbies are closed.*
- Have your bank on speed dial. Familiarize yourself with your local branch’s special services and hurricane evacuation plan in the event of a storm. Centennial Bank provides mobile ATMs in select areas as a resource to customers in the event of power outages or difficulty traveling to a physical branch.
- Set up 24/7 access. Download your bank’s mobile app and ensure all accounts are set up digitally so you can access funds from anywhere in the country. Do not forget to save your mobile banking username and password in a safe place.
- Get your camera ready. Scan and/or photograph your most important personal and banking documents (i.e., IDs, titles, deeds, birth certificates, Social Security cards). It is always a good idea to keep important documents in a water-safe area or sealed bag in the event of a flood.
- Keep an “eye” out for scams. After storms, banking scams are unfortunately a common occurrence. Be on the alert for suspicious phone calls, mail, texts, emails, etc. from companies or individuals pretending to be your bank.
When in doubt, get in touch with your local banker to ensure your account information is up-to-date and to learn more about the services they offer in the event of an emergency.
Making accommodations to have extra cash on hand, reaching out to your local branch, taking photos of important documents and double-checking your access to your bank’s mobile app do not take more than a few hours. These simple tips can save you time and money in the long run.
*Deposits available to Centennial Bank customers only. Deposits subject to daily limits and funds availability schedule. Other restrictions and fees may apply. See branch for details.