Hurricane-Ready: Protecting your documents

Hurricane-Ready: Protecting your documents (Image 1)
Hurricane-Ready: Protecting your documents (Image 1)

One of the most important things to secure during a hurricane—and the most overlooked —is your important documents. Here are a few things to remember:

  1. Store originals in a safe-deposit box at a bank.
  2. Choose a bank some distance from your home to reduce the risk of both places suffering the same disaster.
  3. Get a listing of all of your bank's locations, addresses and phone numbers.
  4. Copy all the documents in the safe-deposit box and place them in an evacuation box (preferably a fire-proof box).
  5. Store your evacuation box some place you can get to easily. Take it with you if you evacuate.
  6. Update documents in both boxes once or twice a year.
  7. Write instructions concerning health and financial decisions for your family in the event you become incapacitated.
  8. If you own a home, consider opening a home equity line of credit so emergency funds will be available.  


  • Safe-deposit box information (location, contents and key)
  • Cash, a few rolls of quarters and traveler's checks


  • Insurance policies (life, auto, homeowners, renters, etc.)
  • Copies of health insurance information (insurance card, doctor's name and number, prescriptions, allergies and immunizations)
  • Photocopy of driver's license
  • Birth, Death and Marriage certificates
  • Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Will and living will
  • Mortgage/property deeds
  • Adoption papers
  • Military records
  • Car titles
  • Trust documents
  • Tax return(s)
  • Written instructions for family members
  • List of emergency contacts, (family, friends, lawyer, financial advisors, etc.)
  • Personal property inventory (item description, serial number, receipt and photograph or video)


  • Home improvement records /receipts
  • Warranties and receipts for major purchases
  • Appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork, etc.
  • Credit card records
  • Retirement account records
  • Recent checking, savings and investment account statements
  • Rental agreement and/or lease
  • Recent pay stub and employee benefits information
  • Backup disks of critical computerized information
  • Negatives of irreplaceable personal photographs (with protective plastic sleeves)
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