Natural Disaster

How to Replace Vital Records After a Flood, Fire or Natural Disaster

FindItMore | It can be difficult to get back to your feet after a disaster such as fire or natural disaster. It is agonizing when picking up pieces after a disaster hits. It is all confusion and you could not even know where to start to regain the control of your life. Knowing how to replace important documents after they are destroyed is important.

Vital records such as financial records, insurance paperwork, academic credentials and more are important in all aspects of your life. You will need to replace the vital records in case of a hurricane or tornado disaster to get your life back on track.

How to replace important records after an accident

In the event of a fire, landslide, or flood, chances are your driving license, bank and school records, birth certificates as well as other forms of ID will get lost or damaged. If you are not prepared, replacing those documents can be a very long process which you can’t avoid. A little knowledge on the process will come in handy. First things first, notify your local Post Office to either restrain from sending you mails or forward them to your new address. The vital documents will be mailed to you through this address and therefore, it is important to handle the change in address first before going forward. The following are the documents you may need to replace and where to get the replacements.

  1. Birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates

You can visit authorized external processors of official important records across the country to obtain certified copies of the above certificates. There are processors that allow you to order the records online as well as have them delivered to you. It is highly likely you will need these documents to get more information about your financial records, property and deed documents among others.

  1. Financial records

The first step towards recovering your financial records is contacting your local branch of the financial institution you have been banking with. Hence, you will obtain your account information. If you don’t manage to contact it, contact the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. You will also want to alert any credit companies of any damaged cards.

  1. Social security card

You will need to make an application for social security card to be able to replace your vital records.

  1. Property and deed documents

Reach out to your mortgage company to give you replacements for your lost or damaged paperwork. The fast way to do that is to contact the recorder’s office of your county or rather the county within which the property is located.

  1. School records

You will need an ID to be able to go for certificate replacements. Once you have the ID, contact the administration of your school or your children’s school to obtain the certificates, transcripts or any other academic credential.

  1. Saving nodes and bonds

As much as saving nodes and bonds may not be vital, it is very important to know how to replace them in case they get lost or damaged. You will need to fill out FS Form 1048 as well as mail it to address indicated on the application.

  1. Tax records

The IRS has provided a hotline for emergency. You can easily contact them through the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline 1-866-562-5227 or even better, visit their website.

  1. Citizenship papers

The US Citizenship and Immigration services can help you get back your green card or any other citizenship paperwork. You will need to reach out to them to get the forms as well as applications necessary for replacing the papers.

  1. Military records

If you lost your military ID or any other related record, you will need to reach out to the applicable of service or even better, get more information on the USA.gov website.

  1. Passport

It is important to reach out to the US government in case you lose your passport to fire or any other disaster. You will first need to locate a passport acceptance facility closest to you to report passport damage or lose. The passport acceptance facility will be able to take you through the process. You will require some forms of ID including birth certificate to complete the process.

  1. Vehicle records

You will easily obtain registration as well as driving license replacements from your local DMV office.

  1. Health insurance, Medicaid/Medicare cards

If you get health insurance privately, contact your company for record replacement. Visit Medicare website to get their contact information if you want to replace your Medicare. As for Medicaid, you will need to reach out to the state’s Medicaid department because it is run differently from state to state.

How to salvage your records after disaster

After everything has calmed down, you can decide to salvage the records you can to save you the trouble of going for replacements. First, categorize the remaining of the records according to their priority. Try to stabilize the documents through air drying or even freezing depending on their conditions as well as resources available. If the incident is beyond the capacity of your agency, you will want to involve salvage resources such as storage, commercial freezer or salvage providers. Stabilize and clean the site as well as restore services as well as environmental conditions. Afterward, put the clean dry records to their keeping place. It is important to keep the same type of damage together away from other undamaged records.

How you will decide to try and salvage your documents will majorly depend on the kind of disaster that has occurred. For instance, water-damaged records can be handled through drying.

A tragic event can lead to the loss of your home. While you might incur a lot to get your home back up, your vital records should be something you can handle easily. With all resources available to salvage what can be salvaged, reach out as well as replace the vital records you have lost to the unfortunate event. If you are equipped well, your records won’t something to worry about.

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