In what forecasters predict will be an average hurricane season this year, with approximately 9-14 named tropical storms, it is important to take necessary steps to safeguard all documents that may be important in the event of a catastrophic wind storm or hurricane, especially if you must file an insurance claim.

Documents you may consider safeguarding include:

  • Insurance Policies,
  • Birth Certificates,
  • Marriage Certificates,
  • Social Security Cards,
  • Passports,
  • Bank Account Statements,
  • Credit Card Accounts Numbers, Contact Numbers, PIN Numbers, etc.,
  • Copies of Driver's License and other Identification Cards,
  • Prescriptions and Medications,
  • Tax Returns,
  • List of Other Account Numbers, Contact Numbers, etc.

Offsite safeguarding is the best option.  Renting a safe deposit box at a bank is great, but make sure you have the key with you in the event you must evacuate your home.  You may also not have access to your bank's safe deposit box for sometime following the loss of power.  Electronic storage is also an option and it basically entails scanning all documents into PDF format files and storing them into an email account for future retrieval.  You can also scan all important documents into a CD and have a friend or family member that lives away from you (preferably in another state) hold it for you.    

As an alternative, you may also consider organizing all important documents into one small plastic container that you can easily grab and go in case of an emergency. 
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