Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Keep those important documents close and safe!

It is important that you have access to identification, insurance, and other documents in an emergency. Usually those documents can be found in the typical wallet, but there are other documents you may also need to access in an emergency.

Think of all the documents you may need, such as stocks, deeds, vehicle titles, passports, insurance policies, Social Security Cards, membership forms, wills, contracts, and agreements. It is a good idea to have the originals of these documents stored in one location, and copies stored in another. You may wish to get a fireproof safe, but if you do not have one you might consider placing all your important papers in a zip storage bag and then place that bag in your freezer. This will protect them in the event of a fire, but be sure the plastic bag does not become torn over time.

Many people keep a recent photo of each family member, as well as photos of pets with their important papers.

Perhaps the most important documents to have on hand during an emergency is cash. After a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or flood, many of the convenient ways we spend and get money no longer exist. Automatic teller machines, credit card networks, even the banks themselves are often inoperable. It is then that we return to cash only transactions, and unless you already have some money saved in a safe place you will be unable to make purchases.

You should have enough cash on hand to pay for a hotel room, buy meals, purchase gas for a vehicle, and other similar expenses that may come up in an emergency. Try to think of the things you and your family might spend money on and start saving until you reach your goal.

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