Fire, floods, earthquakes. We hope these natural disasters never touch our lives, but sometimes, they can catch us unawares. Sometimes its something smaller—a burst pipe or a careless mistake. Either way, sometimes you find yourself needing to replace all of your vital documents: your drivers’ license, your birth and marriage certificates, social security cards. So, in the case of total disaster, how should you go about getting your documents back?
Plan for Disaster
Before we get into how to get your vital documents back, first, a quick plug for keeping them safe. Be sure to have duplicate copies of any documents you can, and store them in water (or even fire proof) containers. Having backup copies in a safe deposit box or other place can also be helpful. While these are not accepted as valid copies, having backup records on Jazmine.com can also be helpful.
Where Do I Start?
You should begin by replacing your birth certificate. You can get a copy from the state where you were born, and may not need to have an I.D. in order to get one, or you might be able to get a parent or other immediate family member to order it in your stead.
Next, you should get your driver’s license. You may need to switch the order of those two first steps, but once you’ve got those two items in hand, you should be able to replace any other documents you can think of.
What Documents Do I Need?
Here’s a list of other documents you may be missing, and who to get in touch with to find them:
- Marriage certificate—your local vital records office.
- Social Security Card—Social Security Administration.
- Passport —You’ll need to fill out a form to report your passport as missing or destroyed to the State Department, and then can go through the regular process for getting a passport at your local passport center.
- Voter registration card—Your state or local elections board.
- Medicare card—Social Security Administration.
- Medicaid card—Your state Medicaid office.
Losing all your documents at once can seem stressful and overwhelming, but with a little bit of persistence, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.