Arkansas is a part of “tornado alley.” This past weekend, the Northeast Arkansas city of Jonesboro was hit by a devastating tornado. Natural disasters, from horrible flooding to tornadoes, can destroy homes, businesses, and more. Natural disasters can affect us all, any day and any time. We want show you how you can protect yourself and your property from natural disasters.

Here is a list of things you can do to protect yourself and your property during the event of a natural disaster:

  • Collect all important financial information. You will need this to file claims, pay bills, and to take care of any family members. 
  • Get a visual. Take photos and videos of all your damages this could help out down the road.
  • Call your insurance as soon as possible. Some insurance companies answer claims in a first-come-first-serve basis. Filling a claim as soon as possible could save you weeks of waiting on the back end.
  • Separate damaged and undamaged items until a claims adjuster inspects them. Protect your property from further damages by making any small and temporary repairs.
  • Save receipts from lodging and repairs to hand over to your insurance company to protect yourself against loosing that money, as well. Even if your insurance company does not provide reimbursement, you may be able to use these as tax deductible.
  • Seek available tax relief. For some natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, there are federal tax deductions that may be able to offset financial loss.

If the president declares an area effected by a natural disaster a Federal Disaster Area, there are automatic extensions of time for filing tax returns and paying taxes, waived penalties for late filing and payment of taxes, and special mailing addresses for faster processing of tax returns from disaster victims.

However, the only way to make sure you’re completely protected against loss is by getting in contact with your insurance company and requesting coverage for natural disasters in your area.