Secure your important documents

Losing important documents due to a fire, flood, or tornado can be devastating, so it's a good idea to have extra copies of essential information stored securely in case of emergencies. 

Here's a list of documents and information you should consider having extra copies if you have an emergency. 

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Identification Documents:
  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • Driver's licenses or identification cards
Insurance Documents:
  • Homeowners or renters’ insurance policy
  • Auto insurance policy
  • Health insurance cards
Financial Documents:
  • Bank account information (account numbers, bank contact details)
  • Credit card information (account numbers, contact details)
  • Tax records (tax returns, W-2 forms)
  • Investment account information
Property Documents:
  • Property deeds or titles
  • Mortgage or rental agreements
  • Vehicle titles and registration
Medical Information:
  • Health records and medical history
  • Prescription information
  • Contact information for doctors and specialists.
Personal Records:
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce decrees
  • Adoption papers
  • Social Security cards
Legal Documents:
  • Wills and living wills.
  • Powers of attorney
  • Custody agreements
Important Contacts:
  • Emergency contact list with phone numbers and email addresses
  • Contact information for family, friends, and neighbors.
Digital Backups:
  • Back up important documents digitally on a secure cloud storage service, external hard drive, or flash drive.
Photos and Sentimental Items:
  • While not documents per se, having copies of sentimental photos and mementos can be invaluable.
Emergency Cash:
  • Have a small amount of emergency cash on hand in a secure location.
Documentation of Personal Belongings:
  • Maintain an inventory list of valuable belongings, which can help in insurance claims. Photos and video can help prove this. 

Store these copies in a fireproof and waterproof container or in a secure off-site location, such as a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. Consider using digital storage solutions as well, like encrypted USB drives or cloud storage, for added redundancy. Regularly update your copies as needed to ensure they are current.

It's also a good idea to discuss your emergency plan and the location of these copies with your family members or household members, so they know where to find important information in case of an emergency. Will you be able to find your documents when a disaster strikes?