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What would you do if this message was broadcast from your local police department?
“DUE TO THE EXPECTED STORM, CONSIDERABLE FLOODING IS EXPECTED AND YOU NEED TO EVACUATE NOW.”
That’s something we never expect to hear. Those types of storms hit only once or twice in a generation right?
Well, maybe not.
People in the Houston area facing Hurricane Harvey never expected to have to abandon entire towns. And just five years ago homes all over the New Jersey and New York coasts – many in my own town – were lost in Superstorm Sandy.
If you had to leave your home quickly would you know what to bring? Or would you be scrambling trying to find important documents?
We’ve put together a list of essential documents everyone should have in one secure, easy to access location. Somewhere where you can just grab the entire thing in a second and have every document you or your family would need.
Whether it’s the storm of a generation, some other emergency or you’re just registering your child for soccer and need a birth certificate, certain documents should be readily accessible.
18 Essential Documents to Gather Today to Protect Yourself
- Birth certificates or adoption certificates.
- Social Security cards
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Military discharge papers.
- Backup of important photos or files on USB drive
- Loan documents (home mortgage, auto loan, personal loan).
- Insurance policy declaration pages (home or renter’s, auto).
- Health insurance cards.
- Deeds to any property.
- Financial statements (checking, savings, IRA)
- Trust document.
- Living Will
- Naturalization document
- Letter of Instruction
- Power of Attorney document
Now, you may not have every one of the 18 essential documents. But gathering the ones you do have into one secure bundle that you can grab in a second could save you precious time and let you focus on your family.
I’ve checked around for a decent quality, fire and water resistant box that’s big enough to hold letter-sized documents. Almost all the basic ones I’ve seen that are below $30 are rated very poorly. This one is the least expensive I’ve seen that’ll hold documents without folding them and will still protect them.
Just the act of getting these documents together could alert you to the fact that you’ve lost or misplaced a few, so you’ll have a chance to replace them. So, on the next rainy weekend take 30 minutes and get yours together.