In the event of a natural disaster or other unexpected emergency, it’s vital that you move quickly and limit the amount of time you spend scrambling for essentials. In addition to having a bag packed with necessary items like medicine, food and clothing, you should also have an emergency financial kit ready to go. This should include a collection of the most important documents you have in your possession; having these documents safely secured in one place can grant you peace of mind, especially in a situation where you need to evacuate as quickly as possible.
Photos of Your Possessions
Whether you have renter’s insurance or a homeowner’s policy, you’re probably covered for the personal possessions you own. However, filing a claim will be difficult if you don’t have an inventory of your possessions prior to an emergency. Photos are the best way of verifying your possessions, but just be sure to take new photos anytime you buy something new for your home.
Another good idea is to walk around your home recording a video and narrating the important details should you need to replace any items or provide additional information to your insurance company.
Birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and social security cards are the main things that fall into this category. Original copies of your birth certificate, passport and social security cards are best kept someplace very secure, such as a bank safe deposit box, with copies of these documents in your home should you need them. You can also scan and upload copies of these documents to online document vaults or other cloud based storage options. The important thing to note, is anything you are storing in your home should be kept organized and in one place so that you can grab it and go should you need to evacuate quickly.
Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy should be kept in this kit along with health insurance and life insurance policies along with your advisor’s names and contact information. You can also add your auto insurance policy to these documents. It may also be a good idea to keep copies of your registration and your official title in this kit, as well, for the sake of verification. Automobile titles are another item that may be best kept offsite in a safe deposit box at a bank. When you keep these items together, you’ll know where to find them whenever you need them, and they will also be easily located in case of emergency. These are also documents that you can scan and email to a cloud based storage device or service.
Estate Planning Documents
Your emergency financial kit is also the best place to keep your will, living trust, and other estate planning documents. This should also include your healthcare proxy and powers of attorney. Another good reason for including these documents in an emergency kit is to ensure your loved ones can find them easily.
Keeping these items together in one kit is essential, but you’ll also want to make sure they’re protected and that other people know where to find them should something happen to you. Keeping the original documents secure in a bank safe deposit box is a very good idea, again, just make sure others know where to find them. Keeping copies of these documents in your emergency kit will make things much easier should there ever be a reason you need to grab your kit and go.
It may not be pleasant to imagine situations that require you to grab your essentials and flee, but thinking ahead can save you and your family considerable time and mental anguish in the case of an emergency.
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