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Disaster Preparation: Documents and Finances

21 Nov

One of the biggest mistakes people make in a disaster to not have essential documents and basic information with them. In many cases, people take elaborate precautions but don’t make any efforts to preserve vital information necessary for everyday life with them.

If you are forced out of your home as the people were after Katrina will you be able to access your bank accounts, insurance policies, government benefits and credit cards? Will you be able to do things like cash a check or pay your bills? What about your prescriptions will you be able to get them if you need them?

You can make life for yourself and your family a lot easy if you make a basic document survival kit that you can take with you. This is simply a book or folder that contains copies of basic documents you might need. You can even create a digital kit by scanning documents saving them on a flash drive or one of those services that backs up your data online.

This kit should include the following information:

  • A list of all your bank accounts including the account number & routing number. It should also include contact information and website information for each bank you use.
  • A list of all your insurance policies with the policy number and contact information for the insurance company.
  • A list of all your prescriptions with contact information for your doctor or doctors.
  • Lists of individuals might need to contact such as friends or relatives and your employer.
  • A list of all your investments and contact information.
  • A list of professionals you use such as doctors, lawyers, insurance agents with contact information.
  • A list of any government benefits you receive and contact information for the agency that provides them.

The kit should also contain these copies of these documents:

  • Driver’s licenses
  • Social Security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Birth Certificates
  • Deeds or titles to property you own.
  • Mortgages
  • Rental agreements
  • Title to your car
  • Checks
  • Tax returns for the last two years
  • Business documents

You should have this information for every member of your family. Having such documentation available will make things much easier.

Something to remember is that identity thieves could use the data on these documents to steal from you. This means you should keep these documents in a secure location and keep them hidden unless you need them.


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