Documents You Should Take
September is National Preparedness Month in the United States, and with hurricane season forcing many residents to flee their homes in the southern states, it is a reminder of the importance of preparing for unexpected emergencies ahead of time.
Above all, priority should be given to your own safety and the safety of your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Personal property can always be replaced, but human lives are irreplaceable. Nothing should slow you down when getting to safety. For that reason, it is important that you plan ahead to minimize your delay in reaching a safe location.
Besides an emergency supply kit full of water, food, and first-aid supplies, you should also consider what personal and financial documents you will need in case you are unable to access your home for a significant period of time. Some documents will be difficult and time-consuming to replace if you lose them. So what documents should you take?
What Documents to Take
- Driver's licenses and/or state photo ID's
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Important medical records
- Proof of insurance
- Insurance policies
- Contact information for your insurance adjuster or agent
- A copy of your home inventory, in case you need to apply for benefits
- Your bank account information and web login
- Stocks, bonds, and other certificates
- Retirement account information
- Recent tax returns
- Any important deeds or leases, such as your house deed
- Identification tags for your pets
- Copies of pet medical records
- Employment information and contacts
- Marriage certificate
- Any wills or testaments
- A list of personal contacts
It is also important that you have a supply of cash with you in the event of power outages that will prevent you from swiping a credit card or connecting to an ATM.
You should store these documents in a secure, waterproof container that will be easy to transport in the event of an emergency evacuation. You should also consider creating electronic copies that are kept somewhere you can access when away from your home, such as in your e-mail account or on a cloud storage service.