Most often, natural disasters—and their full impact—are unforeseen. And, while we can’t avoid these uncertain times, we can take steps to prepare, like making sure there is enough term life insurance to guard our families against financial loss and knowing how and where we can help those in need.
Just like you might rehearse an emergency evacuation plan with your family, you’ll want to prepare financially, making sure your beneficiary knows what to do in case you aren’t around. While these three circumstances below help cover surface-level costs of a natural disaster, we know that there couldn’t possibly be anything to fill the place in you or your loved ones’ hearts where a family member used to be.
That’s why we’ve also gathered some sources that can help you and your loved ones cope with the unseen damage of a natural disaster—new emotions, loss, fear, and just the need to talk.
1. A Term Life Insurance Policy Strengthens Your Emergency Fund
It is generally recommended that you keep enough funds set aside to cover six months of household expenses. This can be challenging for most families, even if both parents work and especially if you are also creating a separate fund to protect your loved ones in the event of your passing.
When you purchase a term life insurance policy, you can view it as a safeguard for your loved ones’ future emergency fund. If the unthinkable were to happen—and a natural disaster also resulted in loss of life—a term life policy could help cushion at least the financial loss that your loved ones may have when you aren’t around, even if your savings and emergency fund were not sufficient to cover their needs.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
2. A Term Life Insurance Policy Can Protect Your Family When You Cannot Work
In some cases, natural disasters result in many survivors sustaining injuries which prevent them from returning to work, whether temporarily or permanently.
In addition to your existing term life insurance policy, there are multiple add-ons, or life insurance riders, that provide even more security.
For example, a disability income rider waives your insurance premium and will provide your family with a supplementary income, based on the total amount of your coverage.
This option means that, if you become disabled, the financial burden of a loss of income—and the cost of rebuilding your lives after a natural disaster—will not overwhelm your family’s resources. This will enable them and you to adjust to the recovery process without the pressure of financial worry.
3. A Term Life Insurance Policy Can Provide Support if You Require Full-Time Care
Finally, a natural disaster may leave a survivor with an injury or condition which requires extensive (and often costly) care.
A long-term care rider—another option which can be added on to your term life policy—protects your family from financial loss if you don’t pass away, but require full-time care or need to stay at a nursing home.
These funds are deducted from your death benefit and can be an enormous help for your family if they are facing a loss of income and significant care expenses in addition to managing the aftermath of a tragic event.
Support for People Recovering from a Natural Disaster: Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
If you’ve been through a natural disaster, there is absolutely no shame in admitting that you need someone to grieve with you, to tell you that it is OK to still be afraid, or to let you talk about what you’ve experienced without judgment.
According to The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), these are a few of the common signs of disaster-related distress:
- Difficulty communicating thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased use of drugs/alcohol
- Limited attention span
- Poor work performance
- Headaches/stomach problems
- Tunnel vision/muffled hearing
- Disorientation or confusion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reluctance to leave home
- Depression, sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying
- Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt
- Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there are many organizations which will support you. Here are several resources for you:
The Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) offers immediate crisis counseling for people in a distressing situation as a result of any natural or human-caused disaster. The service is multilingual, offers help for those who are deaf and/or hearing impaired and operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Spanish speakers can press “2” after dialing the helpline.
You can also text the phrase “TalkWithUs” or “Hablanos” to 66746 (Puerto Ricans can use the number 1-787-339-2663) to speak with a crisis counselor in your preferred language.
The Veterans Administration also provides help for those suffering from PTSD, which is common for those who have experienced tragedies. They share an article on what to expect in the wake of disaster and offer PTSD Coach Online, which is a series of video coaching sessions designed to help you cope with disaster-related stress.
And if you are currently experiencing or ever do experience suicidal thoughts, please call 911 immediately.
How You Can Help Victims of Natural Disasters
Many people who have experienced a natural disaster find solace in helping others heal, too, but even if it is not your family who has suffered the impact of a natural disaster, you may still want to provide support.
For those seeking to bring meaningful change to victims of national tragedies and natural disasters, here are a few places to start:
You can designate a charity as a beneficiary of a term life insurance policy if you wish to leave a legacy for other survivors of natural disasters. These these types of donations have kept many of America’s biggest disaster relief agencies going strong for generations.
You can give your time. The United Way offers volunteer opportunities across the country. The non-profit, non-partisan organization provides on-site disaster relief services and offers numerous programs to help survivors heal. Locate your local United Way chapter to find out how you can get involved.
You can donate to disaster relief. The American Red Cross provides assistance to victims of national tragedies, offering counseling services and material assistance to those in need across the country. You can donate to the organization or find volunteer opportunities in your community.
The First Step for You: Finding the Best Life Insurance Quotes Online
While it is unpleasant to think about, the reality is that we have to be prepared to face whatever life may send our way.
At Quotacy, our mission is to help protect families from financial uncertainty. And, although none of us can predict the events that may occur around us, we can secure the future of our families with a life insurance policy.
Term life insurance is often the best—and most affordable—option for most families. And the best way to find the right term life insurance policy for you is to use our online life insurance quotes tool. You’ll be able to compare quotes from leading insurance providers side-by-side, and apply for a policy, all online.
Finally, don’t hesitate to apply, even if you believe that your age or medical history may make buying life insurance a challenge. We have worked with thousands of individuals with varied backgrounds and life situations in order to help them find affordable term life insurance.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.