Replacing Important Documents After Natural Disasters
Source: Nichole Huff, assistant extension professor of family finance and resource management
Recent natural disasters have left many Kentuckians wondering how to replace important documents lost after tornadoes and flash floods. Ideally, you have an emergency, grab-and-go folder that you can easily grab in emergencies. But sometimes, the events happen so fast, that there’s only time to worry about personal safety.
Documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, mortgage papers, and insurance policies provide identity and a sense of security. Fortunately, you can replace those documents if you know who to contact. Some documents may be easier to replace than others, but with persistence, you can obtain new copies.
You may need to replace your birth certificate first since many other agencies require it to get other documents.
To replace a Kentucky driver’s license, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a regional licensing office. You may find the office nearest you and make appointments online at https://drive.ky.gov/driver-licensing/Pages/Regional-Offices.aspx.
Contact your insurance carriers to request new copies of your policies. You may be able to access your account online and download copies to a secure online storage location.
It’s also important to contact your credit card companies to let them know you’ve lost your cards. They can cancel your current accounts and issue new cards, sometimes overnight.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment put together a comprehensive list of links at https://www.ca.uky.edu/sites/www.ca.uky.edu/files/disaster_recovery_replacing_important_papers.pdf
After you’ve replaced everything, take a moment to photograph the documents with a mobile device and save them in a secure online storage area or in a location away from your home, such as a safety deposit box or with a family member in another town or state.
For more information about replacing important documents, contact your Wayne Cooperative Extension Service.
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