Must-have documents needed ahead of hurricane evacuation

Family, financial and legal paperwork should be up-to-date, secured

By Jonathan Stacey - Meteorologist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While you're out shopping for items on your hurricane supply checklist during Florida's Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which runs through Thursday, don't forget there's also storm preparation that needs to be done at home like gathering important documents in case you and family have to evacuate this hurricane season.

Here's a checklist to help you prepare and store all of the documents you made need in the event disaster strikes:

Family documents

  • Birth certificate or adoption certificate
  • Citizenship papers
  • Passport
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Child custody or guardianship papers
  • Military discharge or military ID
  • Medical records (immunization, prescription information)
  • Pet records (medical, vaccination, current photo, ID chip numbers)

Financial paperwork

  • Loan documents
  • Insurance contracts — life, health, home, auto (if possible, include pictures or videos for insurance claims)
  • Insurance agent’s name and phone number
  • Real estate deeds or rental/lease agreements
  • Titles to property (house, car, boat)
  • Financial statements (retirement, investments, savings)

Legal documents

  • Will
  • Living will
  • Power of attorney
  • HIPAA documents
  • Trust
  • Name change
  • Letter of instruction

Make copies of your these documents and keep them in an easily accessible. The best rule of thumb is to make at least three copies of all these documents. Keep one set in a sealed plastic bag, ready to go with your hurricane supplies. Put the second set in a safety deposit box and the third set in a secured electronic storage space or at a location out of state. 

Federal documents

If you've lost or misplaced any of the documents listed above, below are some phone numbers and links to help you find replacement copies.

Green cards

Phone: 800-375-5283

Website: www.uscis.gov

Medicare cards

Phone: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778

Website: www.medicare.gov

Military records

Phone: 866-272-6272

Website: www.archives.gov/contact

Passport

 Phone: 877-487-2778; 888-874-7793 (TTY)

 Website: travel.state.gov

Social Security card

Phone: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778

Website: ssa.gov

U.S. Savings Bonds

Phone: 844-284-2676

Website: treasurydirect.gov

U.S. tax returns

Phone: 800-829-1040

Website: irs.gov

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