In an emergency situation such as violent weather or an evacuation, you may only have a few minutes or seconds to grab your most important belongings before heading to safety.
Most of us will have a flash light and first aid kit at the ready, but we may neglect our essential documents. If you are displaced for any amount of time, it’s vital to have easy access to this list of information. Now is the time to prepare your financial emergency toolkit.
Your financial emergency toolkit should contain either originals or photocopies of:
1. Personal Documents
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates
- Social Security cards
- Driver’s license and other forms of identification
- Photos of immediate family members
- Military discharge papers
- Prescription information (medication, dosage, pharmacy)
2. Financial Documents
- Mortgage loan documents
- Recent tax return(s)
- Credit cards (photocopy front and back)
- Account information for all checking and saving accounts
- Investment and stock portfolio details
- Student loan documents
- Most recent credit reports
3. Legal Documents
- Wills, trust, power of attorney
- Divorce decrees
4. Property & Insurance Documentation
- Insurance policy information
- Inventory of your large household items
- Auto policy and purchase information
Also consider including:
- Safe deposit box keys or safe combination
- Pet information (vaccinations, photos, veterinary contact information)
- Blank checks and emergency cash
- Usernames and passwords to important online accounts
- USB drive or CD with important electronic documents
- Contact information for family, banking institutions, doctors, employers, attorneys, veterinarians, etc.
Try to make your toolkit small enough to fit into a backpack or small travel bag. Consider using a three-ring binder or an expanding file folder and keep your toolkit in an accessible (yet secure!) location that can be reached quickly in an emergency.
If you need assistance working out a budget and making a plan to save for an emergency situation, contact Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 888-258-2227 to meet with a certified credit and housing counselor.Together we can make a difference. Make a financial gift to LSS today.