When it comes to documentation the best suggestion that I have is a fire resistant safe. These are available at your local office supply store and are really worth the investment. I’m not suggesting that you keep all bank statements, investment statements, etc. in the fire proof safe but it would be a great idea to keep your account numbers as well as photo copies of the front & back of your credit cards in here in case you lose your wallet. At the very least your fireproof safe should contain the following items:
- A folder for each member of your household that holds passports, birth certificates, medical information & anything else that is of importance that you might need. I would include one for pets as well.
- Titles to all vehicles that you own
- House/Mortgage paperwork
- Photos that have been backed up onto CD’s or thumb drives – have recent photos of your house (inside & out) in case you need to show or remember what might be lost for insurance purposes
- Appraisals from any artwork or jewelry
- Anything else of importance to you – genealogy information, photos that are irreplaceable, precious letters from loved ones, etc.
The purpose of the fire proof safe is to hold documentation that can help make you “whole again” should disaster happen in your life. Think of the things that you would need to get a new driver’s license, credit cards, etc. and use that as a gauge. Depending on the size of your safe you can put more personal items in there as well.
These are heavy so bear in mind that worst case is that you open it up, grab these items and go but either way, you’re out the door in a hurry and are able to get you and your family to safety which is the most important thing.
Do you have a disaster plan?