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Replacing Your Documents After A Natural Disaster


One of the worst things that anyone would ever have to deal with is the stress of having a natural disaster. The main issue with natural disasters is there is no way to control them and people can feel so overwhelmed due to living with its aftermath. 

Natural disasters consist of fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes,  gas line explosions and more. A major point, when a natural disaster happens is the loss of important documents.

Many times the documents that are lost in the natural disaster are the social security card, birth certificate, or vehicle and title registration. During the catastrophe, the most important thing is making sure everyone is safe. Once everything is settled, one of the first things that should be done is replacing missing documents.

The kind of documents that people may need is lumped into three categories. The determining factor of who should be contacted is due to what category the item is under. The categories are federal, state, and personal. Some federal documents are passports, federal tax returns, social security card, U.S. Savings Bond, Medicare card, military records, and green cards.

Some state documents are a drivers license, state id cards, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate, property records, state tax return, and vehicle title registration. Some personal documents are medical records, insurance cards, checkbooks, ATM debit cards, and credit cards.

These lists do not include everything that may be necessary to replace; however, it covers enough to get someone thinking about all the things they would like to replace.

If someone has not gone through a catastrophe yet it is a good idea to make copies of certain documents and place them somewhere that is unlikely to get damaged. Some places for copies would be a safety deposit box at a bank or upload everything to a cloud storage account. Another option is storing it in some form of a lockbox in the home, even though there is still a chance for it to be destroyed.

If someone has gone through a natural disaster and they would like to replace their missing documents, they should first make a list of all the things that are missing. The list should also include the items of minor children or any other dependents that have to be replaced. The next step is to reach out to the places that actually distribute the items. Having to do this may seem overwhelming at first but there are services that are available to help people who are in this situation.

It is important to remain calm and understand that everything is a process. It will take time to replace everything and there is no rush. FEMA is a great resource for help. They are the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On their website, there are links that would be helpful in situations such as these.

If someone is displaced from their homes, they have to find a designated place to send the documents they are requesting. When things are sent through the mail, there is always a chance that someone will try to do some kind of identity theft. So, making sure the items reach a safe place is very important.

When these kinds of items are being sent, it is important to focus on credit reports and make sure there is no kind of unusual activity. If anything shows up that is incorrect, it is vital to report it as soon as possible. If someone does not have an address, they can send mail to; the post office is able to hold the mail for an extended period of time. Then it is available to be picked up during the hours the post office is open.

When you are replacing your social security card, sometimes they will not ask for a license. When replacing your social security card, they will ask what the number is. It is usually a relatively simple process. When someone wants to replace their driver’s license, many states will allow a person to just get it shipped to them in the mail. This can definitely save time and help them by not having to go into the office.

A factor that many people may not consider after going through a natural disaster that many people may not consider is contacting their lenders. Mortgage companies, credit card companies, and some other companies have programs in place when someone is going through the aftermath of a natural disaster. They may allow lower payments or someone may be able to stop making payments for a period of time. It is recommended to use any kind of program that a person has access to. It definitely will not hurt to reach out to see what kind of options are available.

Another company that should be contacted is the insurance company. Sometimes people have natural disaster as part of their insurance plan, and they do not know it. The best thing to do to find out what is available is to actually call the insurance company. Sometimes they have plans in place they do not usually talk about.

A natural disaster is something no one truly wants to go through. It is an emotional and stressful time for anyone to have to endure. One of the best things that anyone can do who is going through this kind of situation is to not try to do everything alone. It is important to reach out to friends, family, and companies who would often be willing to help in some way. 

Good preparation would include having great natural disaster insurance and having copies of everything just in case. Going through a natural disaster is a headache but it is a bigger headache when someone is not prepared.