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Financial Friday: Tips for Before and After Hurricane Irma

Hurricanes often have financial impacts that extend far beyond the duration of the storms themselves. Minimize Hurricane Irma’s impact on your bottom line with these tips for both before and after the storm:

  1. Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., Stetson University professor

    Valrie Chambers, Ph.D.

    Know what your insurance covers.
    Whether you rent or own your residence, know what your insurance covers. Many people think they have more coverage than they do. For example, a standard homeowner’s policy typically does not cover flood damage. Instead, you’ll need to buy separate flood insurance from your insurance company or the National Flood Insurance Program.

  2. Carry cash.
    Should your area lose power, any open businesses will be operating as “cash-only.” Consider withdrawing enough cash to cover at least three days’ worth of living expenses.
  3. Be wary of buying water-damaged goods.
    Water-damaged goods, particularly vehicles, may show up online. With vehicles, water damage can affect sensors, electrical systems and brakes. Check the Vehicle Identification Number and trace the car’s history through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. 
  4. Evaluate organizations before you donate.

    Betty Thorne, Stetson University

    Betty Thorne, Ph.D.

    Unfortunately, natural disasters often bring with them fake charities that do little but enrich the individuals behind them. Online tools for reviewing charities are available, including the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org or the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Select Check. You can also reference the additional tips provided in our June 9, 2017, article, “Financial Friday: Choose Charities Carefully.”

Stay Safe!


Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., is Chair of the Accounting Department and associate professor of taxation and accounting. Betty Thorne, Ph.D., is a professor of statistics and the Christian R. Lindback Chair of Business Administration. They write Financial Fridays to bolster students’ financial wellness, including preventing financial mistakes, safeguarding their assets and identity, and thinking critically about financial decisions. For questions, contact Valrie Chambers at Valrie.chambers@stetson.edu.