September is National Preparedness Month — a good time to check your supplies, review your action plan, and make sure you’re ready to handle an emergency. A big part of that is knowing what types of emergencies to expect.

The U.S. encounters more severe weather than any other country in the world (lucky us!). So, depending on which natural disasters are most likely to occur in your area, you might need to designate a closet or stairwell in your home as a tornado shelter, buy hurricane shutters, or retrofit your home against earthquakes.

If you’re moving, it’s helpful to know which parts of your new town or region are most at risk before you rent or buy a home. And whether you’re moving or staying put, it’s important to know what kinds of insurance coverage you should have. Many renters and homeowners policies don’t cover damage caused by floods or earthquakes, so you may need to add extra coverage. And to protect your car from a natural disaster, make sure you have comprehensive coverage (which is optional in many cases).

Get the natural disaster data for your region

Real estate website Trulia has put together an awesome, interactive heat map that shows how vulnerable certain areas are to natural disasters and violent crimes. It lists 23 metro areas across the country (including San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Miami, Denver, Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix) and offers data for earthquakes, flooding, tornados, hurricanes, and wildfires. You’ll also find great info about commute lengths, home values, and the number of schools nearby.

Check out:  Hurricane Sandy: Driving Tips for Florida and the East Coast

Trulia map

Form your disaster plan

Once you know what you should prepare for, find out what emergency supplies you’ll need (and make sure you have a kit in your car as well as your home). Go through a practice drill so you know what to do if a natural disaster strikes. And make a plan for gathering your most important possessions and getting your children and pets to safety if you need to evacuate.

Learn what to do in the case of an unnatural disaster >

It’s also a good idea to look into your car, renters, and homeowners policies to see what coverage you have and what you need to add. If you don’t have insurance or are thinking of switching, you can get a fast, free quote from Esurance anytime.

See? Feels good to be prepared, doesn’t it?

Related posts

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Know what to do when a tornado hits
Get tips on driving during an earthquake, hurricane, or flood
Find out how to protect your car from flood damage

Insurance 101 | Safe and smart

about Ellen

Ellen has spent many years as a professional wordsmith, helping to shed light on such topics as world travel, cargo pants, and the porosity of bath tiles. As a freelance copywriter for Esurance, she brings her boundless curiosity to the world of insurance. Outside work, she can be found cheering on the San Francisco Giants, hiking in the Oakland hills, and (barely) resisting smuggling penguins home from Antarctica.