Personal Disaster Kit

It can happen to you. Papers you need to have in case of disaster.

Vital financial records should be kept in a safe place in normal conditions. Copies of the following documents should be available for taking with you if you have to leave your home in an emergency. If possible, keep paper copies in a water and fireproof container. You could scan these documents into your computer and take a disc or flash drive instead of paper copies.

  • Birth, marriage, and death certificates
  • Divorce and child custody papers
  • Social Security cards
  • Drivers licenses
  • Credit cards
  • Adoption papers
  • Passports
  • Wills, living wills, and health care proxies
  • Powers of attorney
  • Property deeds and mortgage papers
  • Recent bank and brokerage statements and stock and bond certificates
  • Car titles and registrations
  • Insurance policies (life, health, disability, long term care, auto, homeowners, renters)
  • Military records
  • Company benefits and recent pay stubs
  • List (or pictures) of valuables and their worth as well as a list (or pictures) of other possessions
  • Recent income tax returns
  • Recent checking account records and checks
  • Online passwords and toll free numbers
  • Copies of education degrees and licenses
  • Backups of digital information
  • Medical and dental records and prescriptions

Also have the telephone numbers and email addresses of anyone you might have to contact e.g. family members, friends, financial advisors, insurance companies, and credit card companies. Consider having a week’s supply of cash and a roll of quarters, as well as instructions to your loved ones to help them if you are not available.