Important Documents to Have Before a Storm

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Disaster plans are not always top of mind for most homeowners until there is a threat of a natural disaster occurrence. And although your area may be less prone to a natural disaster, it is always good to be prepared with a plan. When creating your disaster plan, whether it be for a hurricane, tornado, or flood, you should always store away important documents in a safe place.

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Protect Your Important Papers and Documents

You can avoid the paper chase during a storm by scanning and making copies of your important documents. These documents can be placed in a fire-proof vault, lock box, or safe deposit box at the bank. There should also be an electronic copy saved to a USB or other type of external drive. There are even smartphone apps that allow you to save all of your important data in one place. So now let’s take a look at what is considered important and save-worthy.

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Emergency Contacts

Make a list of emergency contacts including both in-state and out-of-state contacts. Your list should include phone numbers of:

  • Everyone in your household
  • Neighbors
  • Relatives you engage with frequently
  • Doctors
  • Insurance Agents

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Personal Credentials

Be sure to have copies of important personal credentials, including the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license (front and back)
  • Credit and debit cards (front and back)
  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • Passport
  • Living will
  • Executor and estate planning paperwork
  • Diploma

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Property Documents

It is equally important to put your property documents in a safe place. At the very minimum, the following should be copied and saved:

  • Mortgage statements
  • Home deed
  • Car title
  • Insurance policies
  • Appraisal documents

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Medical and Financial Statements

Lastly, you should include your medical and financial statements. The following should be included:

  • Health insurance card
  • Prescription records
  • Bank statements
  • Tax records
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • IRA or 401(k) account numbers

Contact information, personal certificates, and home, medical, and financial statements are all extremely valuable. Along with these documents, it is also a good idea to have digital copies of your photos, so that those memories are not lost due to a natural disaster. Stay ahead of the storm and start documenting, copying, and storing all important documents in a safe place before it is too late and you risk losing irreplaceable and invaluable items.

For more information on how to keep your important documentation safe, visit AARP.

One Comment

  1. […] the most obvious step is to ensure that you have hard copies of all essential documents. Birth certificates, important medical information, even bank statements should all be stored in a waterproof, easily accessible place. Your emergency planning approach […]