Important Documents to Have Before a Storm

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.