How to Protect Important Documents During a Hurricane
In the mad scramble before and during a storm, it can be hard to find what you need. This is particularly true of important documents that might be located in many different places in your home. Protecting them from the ravages of wind and flood waters is important, and gathering them in one place makes them easy to find if you are splitting town before a hurricane hits.
Below, we highlight what documents you should protect and the best methods for doing so. If you have questions about making an insurance claim after a storm, please contact our Daytona Beach hurricane insurance claims lawyers for a free consultation.
Documents to Protect
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that homeowners find the following:
- Birth certificates
- Social Security cards
- Any green card or other citizenship papers
- Marriage licenses and divorce decrees
- Custody papers
- Military records, including discharge
- Pet vaccination records
You will also need your driver’s license and car insurance information, though you will usually keep that information in the car or on your person.
FEMA also recommends keeping the following:
- Medical records, including immunization records and prescription drug information
- Health insurance cards
- Estate planning documents, including copies of will, trusts, living wills, and powers of attorney
- Financial records, including tax returns, investment records, and bank account information
- Property documents, including a copy of the deed and all homeowners insurance documents
- Other important information, like a personal address book and information about safe deposit boxes
Get a Waterproof Container
Flooding is a serious danger, and floodwaters can damage the above documents beyond recognition. You might also lose papers due to wind damage, though that is less likely unless your whole house collapses.
You will need some sort of waterproof container in which to store everything. You can buy something as simple as a $20 container at your local hardware store. Alternately, you could buy a safe in which to store everything, though a heavy safe could be harder to access or move when flood waters enter your home.
Once you get a container, you can organize the papers so you are not pawing through everything in a hurry. For example, you can buy a 3-ring binder with plastic sleeves and store documents that way. Bunch documents together by type, e.g., all medical information can be in its own section.
Make Electronic Copies as Backup
Another excellent idea is to scan all important documents and store copies in the cloud. This way, a digital copy is always available in the event of a bad storm. If you want, you can attach PDF files to emails and send them to yourself. So long as you can get online after a storm, you will have a copy of what you need.
Speak with a Daytona Beach Property Damage Attorney Today
At Bundza & Rodriguez, we work with homeowners after hurricanes and other natural disasters to make insurance claims. The claims process rarely goes as smoothly as our clients hope, so let us assist.
You can talk with a member of our team by calling 386-252-5170.