12 Documents You’ll Need in an Emergency

There are 12 documents you’ll need in an emergency. Do you know what they are? Do you know where they are? In this video, we’ll help you figure out what documents you’ll need in an emergency and how to store them properly.

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There are certain documents you will need in an emergency, and it’s important to know where they are. If you are prepared before the disaster strikes, you will have a headstart on rebuilding your life. It is critically important to keep track of these critical documents.
I’ll admit: I’m not the best at this. I have five children and there were years that I didn’t know where everyone’s paperwork was. I was a disorganized mess! Fortunately, we did not experience a disaster during those years and I have since become more careful with our files.
I’m Nicole from Low Income Relief, an information service that helps millions of people
save money and get free stuff every year!
If a disaster strikes, you may be surprised at how much documentation you will need. In these videos, we are going to address 12 documents you will need in an emergency.
Vital records are the most important.
When you try to get a driver’s license, you usually need to show a Social Security card, photo ID and proof of residency. When you try to get a Social Security card, you will need to show original documents proving your citizenship and identity.
Can you imagine trying to replace these things without a single identifying document? It would be a nightmare!
Vital records help you prove your identity, which is why they are the most important documents you need to store.
Driver’s License or Photo ID
Your photo ID is most likely in your wallet. However, you can and should make a copy to keep in your important documents folder. Make sure you have identification for every member of the family, if possible!
Personally Identifying Information
The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests including a recent photograph, fingerprints and dental records for each member of the household. Fingerprinting can be done for free at many police stations or nonprofits. You can also take a simple fingerprint record for yourself using an ink pad and piece of paper.
Birth Certificates or Adoption Papers
You will need a birth certificate or adoption papers for each member of your family.
If you cannot find the original birth certificates, you may need to order a replacement. Replacements can be ordered online and typically cost around $20-$30 each.
Social Security Cards
Social Security cards are also important documents that need to be protected.
However, the Social Security Administration has repeatedly warned people that they should not laminate their cards because it can damage important security features. Instead, you are advised to cover the card with plastic or other removable material that does not damage the card itself.
Marriage Licenses, Divorce Decrees and Child Custody Papers
In the event of an emergency, you may need to be able to prove your marriage, divorce or custody over your children. Maintaining this paperwork will ensure the safety of your family in an emergency.
Military Records
If you are active military or a veteran, you will need to store your vital military records. These can include a copy of your military ID, a copy of your military discharge or DD214 paperwork and other related documentation.
Pet Identification Information
If you have pets, you will also need to include identifying information for them. This can include a recent photo and description, as well as information about any microchips. Vaccination records for your pets may also be helpful.
Medical Information
If you are currently being treated by a physician or are taking prescription medications, you will need paperwork that proves this. A list of known allergies can also be helpful! Keep your doctor’s contact information and a current prescription list with your important documents.
You should also include your immunization history, powers-of-attorney for health care, important medical records and any living wills or advanced directives you may have.
Property Records
If you are renting, then you should keep a copy of your rental agreement or lease with your important documents. Add your renter’s policy information, if applicable.

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