July 09, 2019

The Key Documents for Emergency Preparedness

When an emergency or natural disaster strikes, it is important to be financially prepared.  Be aware that this involves more than setting aside funds for an emergency. It's equally important to have easy access to your financial, medical and other records so you can get on the road to recovery more quickly.

So, how can you prepare for the unexpected? Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What's your bank account information?
  • Do you know how to contact your mortgage company?
  • Who are your insurance providers and what are the policy numbers for your homeowners, renters, and car insurance?
  • Where are you loan documents, financial statements and the title to your property?

If you can't answer these questions, don't worry, you're not alone. That's why FEMA offers Four Simple Steps to Financial Preparedness that can help you start the recovery process as soon as possible:

  • Compile: Assemble your important documents and contacts.
  • Review: Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current.
  • Safeguard: Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations.
  • Update: Revisit and update your Emergency Financial First Aid Kit on a regular basis. Updates are especially important when certain changes in your life occur.

There are other steps you can take ahead of time. The Ready.gov website offers resources, tips and guidance for financially preparing for the impact of an emergency.  It also provides the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, a helpful resource to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies.

The Kit provides fillable checklists for collecting and compiling important information, such as:

  • Personal, family and household information like driver's license numbers, birth certificates and social security numbers.
  • Financial and legal documentation including bank accounts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, credit cards, taxes, stocks and investments.
  • Medical information like health insurance cards and accounts, medications taken, immunization records and any person-specific conditions or treatment information.
  • Household contact information including landlords, doctors, schools, employers, community and worship leaders, contractors, lawyers, and insurance agents.

What else can you do to prepare? Learn about the types of natural disasters that may occur where you live, work or travel to most often. Consider making a communications plan for your household should a disaster occur, and be sure to share updated versions with all the members of your family. Finally, learn more about your community's preparedness and the emergency plans in your neighborhood, children's schools and place of work.

Following these tips today will help you and your family be better prepared for an emergency or natural disaster you may face in the future. For more information on getting help with a natural disaster, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.

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