Join us every Monday for the 2014 Be Prepared Summer Challenge
What do you need to save and how do you save it? Loaded question! Many people have filing cabinets of paperwork, organized but not movable. Some of us have our records scattered about haphazardly and some have prepared and collected their vital documents into one place. You should strive to be one of the prepared ones!
If you are caught in a major fire, flood or other calamity, the vital information that you have collected will help smooth out your life after a disaster. Most of these documents are required after a disaster to verify information, identity, and apply for help or insurance. Having these on hand after a disaster will save you tons of time, a huge headache and speed the process of recovery.
At a minimum collect these original documents in one place:
- -Certified Birth Certificates for each family member (be sure all information is correct and if it isn’t now is the time to fix, or amend, it)
- -For infants if you haven’t gotten their birth certificate have their crib card and hospital papers
- -Photocopy of the front and back of your drivers license and each of your credit cards
- -Social Security cards for each family member
- -Immigration cards, and visas, or passports
- -Health record numbers, cards, and basic records (immunization, major issues, etc), prescriptions, list of medical facilities visited
- -Insurance policies or cards with policy numbers for each asset – car, life, home, toys, rental
These documents should be stored in a secure location.
Not all of these are going to fit in your grab and go bag, so consider scanning them to a CD or flash drive or using online record storage. Your original stocks & bonds, car titles, and last will and testament are best stored in a safety deposit box or with your attorney.
- -School records, transcripts, diplomas, etc.
- -List of previous addresses
- -Resume, and relative documentation, career related awards and honors
- -Financial documents
- -3 years of bank statements (sign up for online baking and have access to these instead)
- -taxes for 7 years (your accountant will have a digital copy, or make your own)
- -social security info
- -retirement info and statements
- -loan contracts
- -credit card information and statements (online banking will give you access)
- -stock certificates
- -any other savings (CD’s, bonds, etc)
- -Titles for home and cars
- -Any other contracts that have been entered into
- -Wedding certificates
- -Church membership records and documents
- -Applications and case info for government help (WIC, Medicaid, TANF, etc)
- -Sale information from previous home(s), which should be kept as long as your tax records
- -Donor documents, DNR’s, legal documents, will
- -Record of major home repairs and remodels
- -Receipts and instructions for major purchases
- -Appraisal documents for jewelry and other valuables
- -Home Inventory (optional but recommended for insurance)
You can keep all these papers in a easy to carry and completely covered container, which will help protect them from water damage. It should be easy to grab in an emergency. Some people use a binder with separate folders for each topic so it is easy to find. Whichever method you choose, this information should not be left where strangers can have access to it. Protect yourself and your identity.
So what are you waiting for? Download the Complete Vital Records Binder Copy, for FREE, (it’s a big file – 160 pages – and takes time to load) and get started putting your vital documents together. Remember just a little bit of effort each day can make a big difference in your preparedness.
Thanks for joining us for the Be Prepared Summer Challenge – Just do one more thing to be prepared!
Check out another Be Prepared Summer Challenge post
Week 1 – Fire Escape Plan
Week 2 – Power Outage
Week 3 – Shelter in Place
Week 4 – Evacuate Your Home
Week 5 – Situational Awareness
Week 6 – Neighborhood Ready
Week 7 – Pets in Disasters
Week 8 – Vital Documents
Week 9 – Utility Shut Off
Week 10 – Top 5 Disaster Supplies
Week 11 – Emergency Alerts
Week 12 – First Aid
Week 13 – Day of Service