The Importance of Documents

One of the many lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is the importance of having vital documents available. Many people experienced delays in processing insurance claims because they didn’t have their policy numbers, identification, and other documents immediately available.

I highly suggest storing copies of your vital papers in at least two different locations outside your home. Consider swapping papers with a trust family member or friend. You’ll store theirs and they store yours. Keep another set in your bug out bag, sealed in a plastic bag.

I do NOT recommend using safe deposit boxes for this purpose as if it is a widespread disaster, banks might not be open for business.

Be sure to include copies of:

  • Identification (driver license, social security card)
  • Insurance policies (auto, home, life)
  • Bank statements (checking, savings)
  • Property ownership (vehicle titles, house/land deeds)
  • Also, take all of your credit cards and photocopy the front and back of each one. This will give you not only the account numbers but also the Customer Service phone numbers in the event you lose the card or need to access your account over the phone.

    Finally, add in recent photos of every family member and pet. If one of them turns up missing, these photos can be of tremendous help to searchers.

    Published by

    Jim Cobb

    Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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