Disasters occur without warning, so it’s important to always have a plan in case catastrophe strikes. Whether it’s a fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or other act of nature, your essential documents and records can be destroyed in an instant. This is why it’s a good idea to store your vital documents in a safe place. Being able to easily access your documents after a disaster will speed up the recovery process and return you to normalcy as fast as possible.
Choosing Which Documents to Safeguard
If you were to permanently lose your most vital documents due to a catastrophe, it could be difficult and time-consuming to make insurance claims. You may also need to jump through hoops just to have new records drawn up. To avoid complications, be sure to safeguard any records which provide identification, including but not limited to birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports and marriage certificates.
It’s equally important to protect financial documents. These include insurance cards and policies, bank account information, mortgages and other loans, credit cards, Social Security data and income tax records. Track down any titles, deeds and registrations for vehicles or properties as well. If you have investments, trust funds or wills, you’ll also need to preserve any documentation of those.
Storing Your Records Properly
When securing valuable documents, keep all original paperwork and irreplaceable items in a safe-deposit box at your financial institution. If you want to store your will this way, place a copy in the box and leave the original with your attorney. Give him or her the key, or leave it with someone else you trust. You can also give that same person printed copies of your essential records.
If you choose to keep your documents at home, an Alberta safe specialist from Dial Locksmith Ltd recommends storing them in a fireproof safe. To do this, place the essential documents in plastic covers for water protection, and leave the safe key with a trusted person or in your safe-deposit box. For added peace of mind, scan important documents and create digital copies. Keep these files on a CD or flash drive, and store them securely. You can also back up files with cloud storage or your own email.
By taking the necessary precautions and preparing for any disastrous scenario, you can make things easier for yourself and your family in the end. The key is to keep your documents accessible while protecting them from damage. Knowing exactly which records are important enough to safeguard and storing the copies in a variety of places is one of the best ways to prepare for a calamity.
Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. Her interests include urban exploration and indoor rock climbing. When not writing, she enjoys reading and baking.