7 Disasters To Prepare For That Don’t Involve Zombies

You’re more likely to experience one of these seven disasters before a zombie apocalypse, so it pays to be prepared.

Don Milne Sep 16, 2019

Reality shows are a popular staple of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos. One reality show has four seasons of episodes and is named Doomsday Preppers. With September being National Preparedness Month, can shows like this help us prepare for emergencies? That depends on what the emergency is.

Episodes have included people preparing for: 

  • A switch of polarity in the magnetic pole. The last time that happened was 22,000 years ago.
  • A massive volcanic explosion of Yellowstone National Park. It happens every 700,000 years or so.
  • A towering tsunami wave. The family had little two-men rubber rafts that they filled with bottled water and toilet paper. The tsunami would carry them to safety.
  • Widespread civil unrest. Would this include the zombie apocalypse?
  • A nuclear dirty bomb. The family practiced donning hazmat suits and wore them for a three-hour car ride to their remote desert bug-out home.
  • An electromagnetic pulse blast. An EMP would knock out all modern electronics and has been a goal of more than one Bond villain.

These preppers are often spending $100,000 or more to withstand these calamities. No doubt they will have the last laugh if their doomsday worries come true, but for those of who don’t have the means to make prepping a serious hobby, are there things we can do so as not to be caught unprepared for more common emergencies?

The answer, of course, is yes.

Here is a list of emergencies you are likely to encounter before a zombie breaks down your door, and what you can do to prepare:

Power outage. More likely than an EMP blast is when the power goes out. Thankfully, this normally only happens for a few hours, but it can be days. Good preparations would include having a generator and alternative ways to cook and heat your home.

Flooding. Pipes break and sewer lines back up. These can leave parts of your home uninhabitable. Make sure your insurance has the right kind of coverage for water damage. On a positive note, some movies show that aliens can be killed by water, so your flooded basement could save your life.

Moving. Whether moving by plan or due to a surprise, there are extra expenses that need to be covered to make it happen. Having an emergency fund can give you what is needed to pay for the move, unless it involves moving to outer space — for that you need a rocket ship.

Health issues. If you live long enough, you are going to have health issues of one type or another. While no one likes to pay health insurance premiums every month, they do give you lower cost access to medical treatment. Don’t skip out on health insurance, even if you are generally healthy.

Having an emergency fund can help cover deductibles. And don’t pass on disability insurance. This type of insurance replaces a big part of your income should you suffer a major issue that makes it impossible to do your job. It is normally very affordable, unless you have a high-risk job like an electrical power-line installer or a nuclear reactor repairman.

Last of all, carry adequate term life insurance on the family breadwinners. You need a way to replace that income should he or she pass away.

Car expenses. If you can’t afford to replace your car if it is in an accident, you should carry comprehensive and collision auto insurance. With an old beater, you may be able to get by with just liability insurance. Insurance usually doesn’t cover repairs so you will need a — you guessed it — emergency fund to cover big repairs like transmissions and timing belts.

Home repairs. Homes wear out. If you live in your home long enough, you are going to be faced with major expenses for water heaters, furnaces, central air, roofs, etc. While this is also a good use for your emergency fund, it may also be worth looking into getting a home equity loan. Your home repairs are going to help your home keep its value or go up, so the cost will be recovered, in part or full, when you sell your home.

Insurance is a must. Basic policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes or tsunamis or Yellowstone caldera volcanic eruptions, so if you live in an at-risk area, get the specialized insurance coverage. Without it, you could lose all your equity.

Job loss. Since three-fourths of households live paycheck to paycheck, a job loss is a major disaster. You need a way to pay the rent and put food on the table until you get a new job. It sounds like a broken record, but that emergency fund is the best way to deal with this.

Preparing for the kind of disasters you are most likely to encounter is not as dramatic as prepping for the end of the world. It’s also a lot more basic. Focus on being adequately insured and having an emergency fund. This calculator can help you determine how much emergency savings you may need, and how you can begin saving toward this important goal.

Visit with a banker at your local Zions Bank branch to learn about the different savings accounts available and direct deposit options for your emergency savings.

Also, you might sleep better if you watch something else besides doomsday shows. Cat videos, anyone?

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Don Milne is Financial Literacy manager for Zions Bank.

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