Hurricanes, fires, storm surges and other emergencies may make it necessary for you to evacuate your home. First and foremost, the priority in an emergency should be the safety of you and your family. Tracking down important documents (like insurance policies) shouldn’t delay leaving quickly and safely.

Ideally, you should have important documents already gathered and stored in a watertight, fire-protected safe as part of a disaster preparedness plan. In addition, you should consider storing electronic copies in your ACT Advisors Vault – a secure cloud storage service – in the event you are not allowed to return to your home after an emergency.

Based on recommended lists from the Red Cross, the Insurance Information Institute and ASPCA, here’s some of the documentation that would be good to bring with you, if possible, in an evacuation.

Insurance records

Have on hand everything you’ll need to get a claim started quickly:

  • Insurance policies
  • Contact information for your insurer and agent
  • Copy of a recent home inventory

We suggest making a home inventory video and storing it in your ACT Advisors Vault. This video may help streamline the insurance claims process, showing your possessions and the state of your home before the emergency.

Important documents

Create a grab-‘n’-go folder with any papers that might be difficult or inconvenient to replace, such as:

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Passports
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Wills
  • Deed or lease to your home

Medical details

The Red Cross recommends taking a seven-day supply of any medications and necessary items, as well as paperwork that can help with getting care, including:

  • Prescriptions
  • Important medical records

Pet records

The ASPCA suggests that you bring a recent photo of your pet in case you are separated, as well as important documents like:

  • Copies of your pet’s medical records
  • Up-to-date identification tags for your pet’s collar and carrier


Extra cash is a go-bag must-have in case the power is out and you can’t swipe a credit card or access an ATM after the storm.

Safeguarding Your Important Documents in the Vault

ACT Advisors Vault acts like your online filing cabinet where you can securely store all of your important documents—everything from legal documents, wills, tax returns, audio files, and more. This will give you complete 24/7 access to all of the files in the Vault through any internet connected device. You can also share any documents you choose with your advisor, family, or other professionals like your CPA. If you have not signed up for the vault but would like to be sent a link to register, please email

Already set up for the Vault? Log in here.

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