An emergency binder is where you keep all your important paperwork in case there is an emergency and you need to leave your house quickly. It’s one of those things that you hope you’ll never use, but if you do need it you’ll be glad to have it.
Creating an emergency binder can feel like a big overwhelming project. But you don’t necessarily have to complete it all in one day. You can start putting it together and then work on it a section at a time until you’re satisfied with it.
I’m going to list a few essential things that you should have in your emergency binder, along with some items that you may not necessarily think about – but you’ll be grateful to have.
Remember, during a major disaster you may not have access to the internet. So you’ll need to be able to rely on hard copies and information you’ve gathered.
Keep a list of your family’s health insurance, medical conditions, and medical records. Including: blood type, allergies, prescriptions, and immunization records.
You may also want to make a note of your family doctors and dentist, plus their address and phone number.
Savings and checking account information, retirement accounts, and other investment accounts like stocks and bonds, whole life insurance etc. List any Accidental Death Insurance policies. A copy of your last three years of taxes, and any other important tax information. Keep another list of all your debts and monthly payments.
Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, and Marriage License. You also might want to include copies of Drivers Licenses. Include your mortgage documents or rental agreements. A copy of your homeowner’s insurance or rental insurance.
List all of your vehicles with their license plate number, VIN number, and date of purchase. Original title of any vehicles you own outright. Plus keep a copy of your Auto Insurance Policy and a number to contact them by. You may also want to include pictures of your cars, trailers, boats, etc.
What You May be Missing in Your Emergency Binder:
The items listed below are easy to overlook, but they are just as important if not more important than documentation that can eventually be replaced.
Emergency Contact List:
If the cell phone towers are down and your phone isn’t working, would you be able to remember your family and friends numbers? It’s important to create a list of emergency contacts. Include individuals that are close to your house, and also some family or friends that are in another state.
You may also want to include your child’s school and your spouse’s work number.
Recent ID Photos:
It’s important to have updated pictures of each family member. If you get separated, or someone becomes lost, then having pictures will be critical to help locate them. You may also run into a situation where you have to “prove” you are a family.
Print out individual pictures of each person, plus a family picture of everyone together.
Password Log and Spare Keys:
It may be beneficial to keep a password log for important online accounts in your emergency binder. Imagine if you were to pass away, would leaving your passwords behind to important online accounts be beneficial to your family?
You may also want to keep a spare set of keys to your home and vehicles in your emergency binder.
Keep your Emergency Binder Safe
Remember to keep your binder in a secure place. I would recommend a fireproof lock box or a safe, if you can afford one.
I hope these suggestions help you organize your important documents, so that when an emergency happens you can focus your time and attention on other important things.