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Your Family's Lockbox

5 Documents every family should keep there

Caring parents teaching their children how to use a computer in the living-roomProtecting your home and your valuables should be a top priority, but even the most vigilant protectors can encounter fire, theft, or flood. Natural disasters are not an uncommon occurrence, and in times of tragedy and uncertainty, it is essential to have a plan in place to handle life’s unexpected events. One part of your disaster plan should be how to quickly access your financial documentation in the event of an emergency. A lockbox is a perfect solution, but what important information should be stored in it?

Insurance Policies

Insurance policies, including medical insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and car insurance paperwork should be kept together in a safety box. Experts also suggest taking photos of premium receipts and payment information and storing them on a CD or a thumb drive. In the case of a life event or a tragedy, having easy access to receipts and policy information will help you get the ball rolling quicker if you need to make a claim.

Birth Certificates, Passports, and Social Security Cards

All your personal information and that of your family should be stored in a safe box. Remember to save each family member’s data in a separate plastic bag, then place them all together in a larger container. This will make it easier for you to quickly access individual information, while still ensuring everything is together.

Financial Documentation

It is advisable to keep all of your financial documentation stored in a safe lockbox that is stored on a shelf or in a file cabinet. Financial documentation may include mortgage paperwork, annuity documentation, 401k and investment portfolio paperwork, and even your local account numbers. Having this information stored together will make it easier to access it during tax time, and will keep your information safe in the event of a fire or flood.

Photos of your Property and Other Important Items

Experts suggest loading photos of your home, both interior and exterior onto a thumb drive and keeping it in a fireproof lockbox. Photos can be invaluable during the insurance claim process. It not only allows you to prove what you’ve owned, but it will enable insurance companies to process claims quicker. Along with photos of your home, it is also a good idea to store pictures of prescriptions, and files that contain your medical information on the same drive. If there is a fire or other damage to your home, being able to resupply medications is one less thing to worry about.

Emergency Cash

Emergency cash is always essential to have on hand. Most people today do not carry cash in their wallets. According to a Capital One survey, less than 25% of transactions in retail stores were cash-based, and only 41% of respondents said they carried cash on a regular basis. Over 50% pf millennials agree that they never or rarely carry cash, but money is vital in an emergency. Even a stash of $200 can help if you’ve lost your wallet or have encountered an emergency that requires cash. Place your money into an envelope and place it in the bottom of a lockbox. You can add to it over time if you’d like, but $200-$500 is enough to have on hand in case of an emergency. Additionally, storing extra checks in your lockbox is a good idea for emergencies that exceed your emergency cash threshold.
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