FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – April showers may bring May flowers, but unfortunately, spring also can bring severe weather that results in disasters like floods, fires and tornadoes.
And while no one wants to think they will be the victim of such a disaster, it’s best to be prepared. Having access to financial and other documents should be part of that preparation.
Below is a list that can serve as a good starting place when it comes to the documents you may need if you’re the victim of a natural disaster.
Note: It is imperative to store this information somewhere secure. That could be at home in a fireproof and waterproof box, at a bank in a safe deposit box, or maybe electronically in a secure cloud-based service. If you choose to store these documents at home, be sure to hide it somewhere out of sight of would-be intruders.
Basic identification – These are documents that can help you identify yourself and your family, your relationships and/or your status.
- Driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, green card
- Vital records such as birth and marriage certificates, adoption papers, etc.
Financial and legal documents – These can help you request assistance from your insurance provider and/or disaster assistance programs.
- Mortgage documentation, rental or lease agreement, property deed
- Checking and/or savings account statements, retirement and investment account statements, tax returns, insurance policies, will or trust, power of attorney
- Vehicle title and registration, loan documents
- Health and dental insurance cards
- List of prescriptions and any allergies, pharmacy information, contact information for doctors
- Living will, medical power of attorney
Emergency contact information
- Home repair services such as utilities, plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.
Again, once you have compiled this information, it is critical to store it securely. Whether that’s at home in a fireproof and waterproof box, at a bank in a safe deposit box, or electronically in a secure cloud-based service, it needs to be in a place that’s accessible only to you and hidden from would-be thieves.
Regardless of the means you choose, no one wants to envision a scenario in which they need to access this kind of information due to a natural disaster. Being prepared, however, can provide some measure of comfort.