Weather-proof your financial documents

The weather across the country this year has been nothing short of crazy. From tornadoes to droughts to hurricanes, the weather patterns have proven to be unpredictable.

Because severe weather strikes whether you’re ready or not – so it’s important to ensure that all of your personal, financial documents are disaster-proof.

The following are a few tips to keep your important records safe and dry:

  • You should first locate all of your documents according to category. Make sure you have access to your personal identification documents, which include your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport, and marriage license. You should also inventory your financial records, including banking information, account numbers, retirement account information, insurance policies, tax records, deeds, mortgage papers, vehicle titles, and your will.
  • Make copies of all of your important documents, such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, and wills. Keep all of the originals at your residence, and keep the copies at an alternate location, such as a safety-deposit box at the bank or with a trusted family member.
    Keep all of your important papers and documents in a fire-proof, waterproof lock box that you can easily grab if necessary. Make sure all of your family members know where it’s located in case of an emergency.
  • Make digital copies of your records and documents. Scan items such as birth certificates and tax documents. If you’re storing these documents on a computer, make sure you back up your computer on a regular basis. You can save the most important documents on an external hard drive that you can keep in your lockbox.
  • Keep an inventory of your valuable items for insurance purposes. Set aside a day every month or so and review the list and make sure it’s up to date. It won’t take a lot of time, but it will become extremely valuable in the case of an emergency.
  • Review your property insurance policies with you agent. If you don’t know what your policy covers, now is the time to find out – not in the wake of a disaster.

As with any crisis, proper preparation makes the road to recovery a much smoother one. While it’s not fun to imagine worst-case scenarios, it’s ultimately better to be safe than sorry.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.