Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ten Critical Do’s and Don’ts for Vital Documents in an Emergency ©

Locally we have an out-of- control fire in Salt Lake County.  Because of this I am temporarily posting important information about gathering your vital documents BEFORE you are in an emergancy.

The Ten Critical Do’s and Don’ts for Vital Documents in an Emergency ©

1. Do create a list of all your master accounts:

• Savings Account

• Checking Account

• Credit Cards

• Investments

• Insurance Records

2. Do make 3 copies each of the following Documents:

• Legal

• Certificates

• Insurance

• Medical

• Financial

• Personal

3. Once you have completed the 3 copies, Do store the copies in three different places:

• In your home and /or home office. (In a clearly marked folder, or electronically on a thumb drive or portable memory storage device).

• With your attorney, a close friend, or a family member who doesn't live with you.

• In a home Fire-proof safe that can withstand temperatures up to 1,700 degrees

• In your financial institutions Safe-deposit box.

4. Do make a list and inventory of all contents of your Safe-deposit box and / or Fire-Proof Safe:

• Make a list of all irreplaceable items (jewelry, photo negatives, heirlooms, etc.)

• All critical documents (for example: marriage license, birth certificates, stocks and bonds) that you've stored under lock and key.

• Also photocopy the documents for your household files.

5. Do make a photocopy of all the contents in your wallet:

• Once a year, make a copy of all the credit and ID cards you carry around.

• Remember to include; medical insurance, voter registration and health club membership cards.

6. Do take an inventory of all your belongings in your home.

• Make an inventory of your belongings, taking photographs of each room, and note the model and serial numbers of the items.

• Save receipts or canceled checks to prove the value and ownership of the items in your inventory. (Remember to include seasonal items stored in the attic, basement, or garage, such as holiday decorations, tools, and sporting equipment.)

7. Don’t keep invalid or outdated documents.

• Shred or destroy outdated insurance, financial or personal information. Keeping it only adds confusion in an already stressful situation.

8. Don’t assume you know what the contents of your insurance policies include unless you have carefully read them.

• When you buy a home or car, you must purchase insurance. Always make sure you understand exactly what you are insured for.

• Make sure you have a replacement insurance policy that covers the real cost of replacing your home, rather than an "actual cash value," which covers your belongings after depreciation

• If you do have replacement insurance coverage, insurers have been narrowing the definition of "replacement," leaving some homeowners with inadequate coverage.

Carefully read your insurance policy and discuss any questions / concerns with your insurance agent.

• In addition to proper replacement coverage, verify whether you need extra coverage for fires, earthquakes, or other special-situation losses, and confirm that your policy covers damage from flooding, wind, and hail. Also consider a policy that covers your living expenses while your home is being rebuilt.

• Be sure to contact your insurance agent to update your policy if you do renovations or improvements on your home.

9. Don’t assume if your spouse handles all the financial and / or insurance documents; that everything is in order.

• Go over your financial information together at least quarterly or ideally monthly.

• Often times when an emergency does occur, family members are not together or may be separated during the disaster evacuation.

• An emergency situation is not the time to be gathering information.

10. Don’t be too trusting of individuals with your personal 

Information during an Emergency:

• Unfortunately some people use an emergency to their advantage and prey upon those who are too trusting.

• Guard your identity and personal information during an emergency just like you would at any other time.

• Recent disasters in this country have prompted thieves to steal other’s identity when they are most vulnerable. Don’t let yourself be a victim.

Above all be prepared. A flood, earthquake, or other disasters may seem highly unlikely, don’t become complacent, A lack of preparation will only add to the stress of the situation and will cost you large amounts of money if your preparations are incomplete during an Emergency

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