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Video Tips: How to Protect Your Documents from Disasters

  • Make copies of your important documents. This includes things like your birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, insurance policies, and financial records. You can make copies yourself or scan them and save them to a cloud storage service.
  • Store your copies in a safe place. This could be a fireproof safe, a bank safety deposit box, or a relative’s home in another city.
  • Keep a list of your valuables. This includes things like your jewelry, electronics, and other valuables. You can use this list to file an insurance claim if your belongings are damaged or destroyed.
  • Know where to find information if needed. The IRS has a website with information on disaster relief for taxpayers. You can also find information on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.

If you’re affected by a disaster, having your updated documents and other information readily available can help you apply for the relief available from the IRS and other agencies. Disaster assistance and emergency relief may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area.

Here are some additional tips for protecting your documents:

  • Use a watertight container. If you’re storing your documents at home, make sure to put them in a watertight container in case of a flood or other water damage.
  • Label everything. Make sure to label all of your documents so that you can easily find them if you need them.
  • Update your documents regularly. Make sure to update your documents regularly, such as when you get married, have a child, or change jobs.

By following these tips, you can help protect your essential documents in case of a disaster.