Important Documents - Are you prepared?

Important Documents - Are you prepared?

"Prepping" seems to be all the rage these days.  Rather you are a Doomsday Prepper, or just an informed citizen who likes to be prepared for reasonable worst-case scenarios, there are things we should all be doing to protect ourselves.  And so, I am going to start a series of things we should all be doing to prep for disaster. 

Consider the following:

Scenario 1:  You are at work.  A bad thunderstorm rolls in.  Lightning strikes your house and it quickly burns to the ground.  What vital documents have you lost and how easy are they to replace?  What information do you know regarding your insurance coverage?  Could you easily give your insurance company an inventory of your home's possessions?  Do you have copies of priceless old family photos?

Scenario 2:  You spent a fun-filled afternoon at the county fair.  Driving home, you decide to run through a fast food drive-through to pick up dinner.  That is when you discover your wallet is gone!  Did you drop it at the fairgrounds?  Were you pick-pocketed?  You suspect the latter.  Do you know what credit cards/debit cards are in your wallet, their account numbers, and how to quickly cancel them before a bad guy can access your accounts? 

Scenario 3: The shit has hit the fan!!!!  Due to massive unemployment and dissatisfaction with the government, civil unrest has broken out in your community.  You are suddenly forced to flee the area quickly with just a few minutes to grab what you can and throw it into your car.  You seek refuge in a bordering country.  Do you have proper identification with you? Do you have all you need to rebuild your life? 

Chances are, at some point you have thought about at least one of the above scenarios.  Are you prepared?

When disaster strikes, having copies of important documents will make the recovery process much easier.  An easy solution is to digitize all important documents and keep them in a safe off-site location on a portable USB drive.

Here are some examples of important documents:
* birth certificate
* social security card
* passport
* driver's license
* marriage license
* concealed carry permit
* house title
* car title
* insurance policies
* investment records
* digital photos from around your house to help with inventory (I update mine every 6 months or so)
* digital copies of priceless family photos (not life or death, but nice to have a back-up in case the originals are destroyed)
* front and back of credit cards
* list of important phone numbers (banks, insurance agents, family, lawyer, doctors)

These documents can all be saved/scanned into digital files and stored on a USB drive.  You can - and should! - password protect your USB drive to protect it should it fall into the wrong hands. 

The USB drive should not be kept with the documents themselves (sort of defeats the purpose).  Instead, keep it in a secure off-site location such as with a trusted family member, in a safe deposit box, at your office, or in a bug out bag located in your vehicle.  Ideally, having this information at two off-site locations is best (remember, 'one is none and two is one.'). 

Every six months or so you should double-check your files to see if anything has changed, or if you need to add any new documents.  A good rule of thumb is to do this at the same time you change the batteries in your smoke alarm. 

Want to get started?  Here is a great little portable USB drive that I recommend:
Verbatim TUFF 'N' TINY 16 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive - this little USB is small enough to hang on your key chain without adding bulk or weight, and it is very durable (resistant to water, dust, and static charges).  It is also very nicely priced!  It is also 16GB, which should easily hold all that you will need.  And as it is black, it will not be instantly noticeable, which is good as you don't want it to become a target for thieves. 

How prepared are you should your important documents become lost or destroyed?  What other documents do you include in your preparedness planning that I have not mentioned?


Jeremy Norton said...

I have actually scanned some of my important documents and store it safely. We never know what will happen so it is better to be ready than sorry.

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