When disaster strikes, your immediate concern will be your safety and the safety of those you care about. But once the danger has passed, having important paperwork available can help you start the recovery process quickly. Make sure key documents, such as financial and medical records, are stored safely. Taking time now to safeguard these assets will give you peace of mind, ensure you have access to critical personal information, and help you avoid additional stress after a disaster.

Recovering from a disaster can take time and money. It’s important to consider your financial preparedness while developing your disaster plan. That can include setting money aside to help support yourself while waiting for additional aid, and making sure key personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records are accessible – even if you are unable to return home. If you receive payments by mail, whether it be a regular paycheck, Social Security benefits, or other program, set up direct deposit to a checking or savings account when available. That will help prevent any disruption in finances reaching your accounts. Consider putting together an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, which will include key documents that are needed as you work to recovery from a disaster. Personal identification documents — Being able to prove who you are and where you lived can be essential to getting your life back to normal quickly. Gather these documents together in a secure location, such as a safe.
  • Photo ID to prove identity of household members
  • Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members
  • Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
  • Military service
  • Pet ID tags
Financial and legal documents — Keep key documents relating to your finances in the same location as other important documents.
  • Copies of your mortgage or rent payment information
  • Copies of current Insurance policies to re-establish financial accounts
  • Information on income sources to help maintain payments and credit
  • Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers and to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
  • Bank account information
Medical information
  • A list of any physicians you are currently seeing
  • Copies of any health insurance policies you have
  • Immunization records
  • List of medications you or family members are currently taking

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage Having enough insurance can be essential to the process of recovering from a major disaster. You should regularly review your insurance coverage to make sure it reflects any changes in your living situation. Many homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. You may need to purchase coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. In addition to insurance, it’s important to have a reserve of cash ready to help you survive through a disaster. Save money in an emergency account that can be used during a crisis. Also consider storing cash in your emergency kit at home, in the event credit cards and bank accounts are not accessible during a disaster when you may need to purchase emergency supplies. Make sure you have small bills.
Additional resources Emergency Financial First Aid Kit Emergency Financial First Aid Kit – Spanish National Flood Insurance Program Checklist of critical documents to protect