Protecting Your Credit When Disaster Strikes

In the wake of natural disasters or unforeseen government actions, you may be struggling to get your life back to normal. Among the many concerns you may be wondering:

  • How do I get access to money?
  • What will happen if I miss payments on my credit cards and loans?
  • And how might the decisions I make affect my credit rating and access to credit in the future?

These are important items to consider as your credit score influences the credit that's available to you as well as the terms, such as interest rates and amount of credit extended, that lenders offer you. The fact that you reside in an area impacted by a natural disaster or government action does not directly impact the FICO® Score, but related actions such as charging credit cards up to and over their limit or opening several new credit accounts over a short period of time can have impact on the score. So what should you do to protect yourself and monitor any changes to your credit score if you've been impacted by a natural disaster and are worried about keeping up with your bill payments as you sort things out and try to get some "normalcy" back into your life?

5 ways to prepare for a natural disaster:

  1. Be in the know about your current credit status.
  2. Assess where you are financially
  3. Consider automatic payments for your priorities.
  4. Do you have overdraft protection?
  5. Investigate your credit card over limit rules or protection programs.

5 ways To recover from a natural disaster:

  1. Before payments are due, start making calls to alert your creditors.
  2. Ask your creditors about your options.
  3. Time to reprioritize your expenses.
  4. Request a copy of your credit report as soon as feasible.
  5. Consider a credit monitoring or identity theft protection service.

Get the full details and download the guide to preparing and recovering from natural disasters.

With a plan in place, you can focus on immediate and basic needs in keeping you and your family safe and healthy.