Emergency Documents Checklist

This checklist includes critical documents and information you should have ready to take with you if you need to evacuate for a flood or other disaster. These documents will help you rebuild your life more quickly. They will provide the information and proof you need to:

  • Apply for federal disaster assistance.
  • Maintain payments on your bills and protect your credit rating.
  • File claims with your insurance company.
  • Get prescriptions filled.

Other important points to keep in mind:

  • If the document or card is something you use every day — such as a driver’s license or military ID — make a copy of it for this kit.
  • Store the documents and copies in a waterproof container in a place that is easy to get to and off the floor. Make sure other members of your household know where the container is.
  • Review this checklist twice a year to make sure you don’t need to update or add new documents.

On this page:

Household Identification

  • Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates; adoption or child custody papers
  • Passport, driver’s license, Social Security card, green card, military service ID (for passport, copy the first two pages; for cards, copy the front and back)
  • Pet ownership papers, ID tags

Financial and Legal Documents

  • Housing: lease or rental agreement, mortgage, home equity line of credit, deed
  • Vehicle: loan documents, vehicle identification number (VIN), registration, title
  • Other financial obligations: utility bills, credit cards, student loans, alimony and child support agreements, elder care, automatic payments such as gym memberships
  • Financial accounts: checking, savings, debit cards, retirement, investment
  • Insurance: homeowners, renters, auto, life, and flood insurance policies; appraisals, photos, lists of valuable items
  • Income: pay stubs; proof of payments for government benefits or for alimony or child support
  • Tax statements: federal and state income tax returns; property tax, vehicle tax
  • Estate planning: will, trust, power of attorney

Medical Information

  • Health/dental insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health benefits
  • List of medications, immunizations, allergies, prescriptions, medical equipment and devices, pharmacy information
  • Living will, medical power of attorney
  • Caregiver agency contract or service agreement
  • Disabilities documentation
  • Contact information for doctors, dentists, pediatricians, veterinarians

Household Contacts

This is a list you create of important contacts. You also can add them to your cellphone contact list.

  • Landlord or mortgage representative
  • Insurance agents
  • Person in charge of your military benefits
  • Social services representative (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP; aid to family programs; Supplemental Security Income; Social Security Disability Insurance; etc.)
  • Local disability service provider or case manager
  • Assistive technology or durable medical equipment provider
  • Lawyer
  • Financial adviser
  • House of worship contacts
  • Household service providers (plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.)

For a more detailed explanation of these documents, their importance, and related information and advice, see the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.