Water can cause some serious damage to your home and valuables. Having a plan in place and preparing for possible flooding is the best way to keep your most important documents and family keepsakes safe.
Items to Protect
The most immediate documents you may need are those identifying yourself and your household members. After a disaster you will also most likely need access to medical information, and insurance providers. Often there are government assistance programs you can apply for, and Information about your home and property will be necessary for these types of applications. See our list below for more specific documents.
- Identifications- birth & marriage certificates, passports, social security cards, photocopies of driver’s license and credit cards, military ID, address book/phone numbers for friends and family, pet ownership papers and ID
- Home & Property- home deed, mortgage, car titles, registration, & VIN, insurance policies, and policyholder’s contact information
- Estate- will, trust, powers-of-attorney
- Medical- health insurance cards, immunization records, doctor’s contact information
- Financial- bank statements, tax records, W2’s, important receipts, debit card, checking, and savings account numbers
- Personal- personal mementos, family photos and keepsakes, jewelry, art, and collectibles
How to Protect
- Technology- Keep copies of documents electronically in a password-protected format. Consider using a secure cloud-based service or a CD or hard drive.
- Proper Containment- Store all paper copies of documents in a waterproof and fire-proof box, safe, or filing cabinet. If possible, store in a high location of the home.
- Backup Copies- Secure a second copy or duplicate of original documents in a separate location. This can be a safe deposit box, or with a trusted friend or family member.
- Safe Deposit Box- These boxes are highly secure and prevent theft. They can be used as a primary storage place or be used as a secondary backup for copies. It can be inconvenient for quick access to documents so you may decide to only keep certain documents or valuables in this location. Also be sure you know what laws are in place to confirm who can and cannot access your box in the event of death or incapacitation.
In a matter of minutes precious and important documents and valuables can be destroyed. Protecting these items from flood waters can help ease the burden of damage and destruction after a disaster.
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