In the aftermath of a natural disaster, people are often left wondering what to do next. It’s important to know how to deal with finances and how decisions can impact credit after one of these events.
When something like a hurricane, flood, or tornado has ravaged someone’s home, paying the utility bills on time could be the last thing on their mind. Other things like having basic necessities take over at first. But as the situation turns toward rebuilding, people can be left wondering how to access their money and how the decisions they make now will affect their access to credit in the future.
Being affected by a natural disaster won’t directly impact your credit, but things like charging up credit cards and opening multiple new lines of credit in a short amount of time can. These things may become necessary, especially if your whole area has been impacted by an unforeseen event.
If bill paying becomes a hardship, the first step should always be to speak with your bank and other creditors to make them aware of the situation. Most lenders have procedures they can take to work with clients after a natural disaster, such as setting up a temporary deferment or forbearance. Depending on the lender, these programs will allow payments to be put on hold while the customer is attempting to gain normalcy in the wake of a disaster.
According to myFICO.com, lenders often include details about special arrangements due to a natural disaster in the comments section when they send updates to credit reporting agencies. FICO doesn’t look at this as negative information when calculating a credit score.
The best way to know how this situation affects credit is to know your credit. It may be a good idea to get a copy of your credit report as soon as possible after a natural disaster. This way, you can see your overall credit profile at the time of the event, before any post-disaster reports have been made by creditors.
Even in normal situations, it’s always good to monitor your credit regularly to know whether or not you'll be approved for credit when needed. A consumer is entitled to receive one free copy of their credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – every 12 months. A good practice is to get one of these reports every four months, making it easier to spot differences or suspicious activity. Consumers can get copies of their reports by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Getting back on your feet in the wake of a natural disaster can be difficult, especially if you have bad credit. If you need a vehicle, bad credit doesn’t need to cause more complications. Auto Credit Express is here to help you get on the right path by connecting you with a local dealer.
We work with an extensive network of special finance dealerships who have the lending resources available to work with people in challenging credit situations. If you’re ready to take the first step toward your next vehicle, simply fill out our no-obligation online auto loan request form today!