When it Pays to Keep Records
I have been fortunate and never been through a storm, earthquake, flood or anything else that might destroy my home.
That being said, I see too often how quickly this type of devastation can hit. I have a small pantry with emergency food and equipment for 3 days of survival (everyone should have this). However, If a tornado hit and took out your house, would you know what documents you had at home, which credit cards to cancel, how to contact all the people, banks, etc to let them know to turn everything off so you aren’t a victim of identity theft? After all, if all of your bank statements and credit card statements are at home, after a storm they could be miles away for anyone to pick up.
I have made a list of many items. Most originals should be put into a safe or kept in a safe deposit box at a bank. I am hoping if the bank gets destroyed, those thick vault walls will at least protect the boxes?! I also made copies of all my papers, scanned them and put them on several flash drives. These are stored away from my home for safe keeping.
Here is a list of what I have found to be important to keep copies of. You never know what you have once it has been lost or stolen. Just get photocopies and keep in a safe place other than where your originals are located. It should be someplace you can get them easily, but not in a place a burglar can have access to all your identification and information. Keep a copy hidden at home and another with a relative who does not live in your area, someone you trust. I use a flash drive after I have scanned to my computer.
- Drivers license
- Birth certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Concealed weapons permits
- Marriage license
- Mortgage or deeds
- Receipts for major purchases
- Jewelry appraisals
- All insurance papers – health, life, property
- Vehicle titles
- Retirement accounts
- Health records
- Prescription records
- Health insurance member cards
- Power of Attorney for health and finance
- Name, phone, address of accountant
- End of Life instructions
- Bank statement
- Tax returns (2 years)
- Personal address book
- Computer information
- Online passwords and usernames
- Key to safe deposit box
- Recent photograph
- Numbers to gas and electric company
- Emergency numbers
- Video, photos and list of all your possessions. Be sure you are in the photos so they don’t question if these were all your items!
- Photo of you and your pet
- Veterinarian records
I am more of an electronic type person, so I keep all of these copies on 3 flash drives in different locations. If we have no electricity? I always keep spare computer batteries so I can get this information when needed.