Documents need protection too: Safeguard records

Tuesday, June 7
June 7, 2011
Economic life of LA1 businesses in limbo
June 9, 2011
Tuesday, June 7
June 7, 2011
Economic life of LA1 businesses in limbo
June 9, 2011

Part of hurricane season preparedness should include safeguarding financial documents, insurance policy paperwork and medical records from the storm so they will be available when needed.


“As many residents prepare for possible river flooding [and] the hurricane season, the Internal Revenue Service is encouraging individuals to safeguard their records in the event that disaster strikes,” IRS spokeswoman Dee Stepter said as she offered a checklist of steps for protecting important documents that can be done along with preparing personal hurricane kits.

Stepter said hurricane preparation is one example of when taking advantage of paperless recordkeeping is a plus. She said that storing tax returns, bank statements and other important documents electronically is an excellent way to protect them. Electronic files can be stored on CD, DVD or other electronic devices.


Records should be stored in a location outside potential disaster areas. Convenience to home need not be a primary concern. When disaster strikes one’s home other nearby facilities are probably going to be affected. There are many online options to storing documents, and most financial institutions keep customer records on mainframes away from the danger zones.

For those without access to electronic filing, experienced storm survivors suggest placing financial documents in large plastic storage bags that are typically used for storing food and keeping those documents where one can get to them when they are needed.

“Document valuables and business equipment,” Stepter said. A room-by-room list of property and equipment should be made so any losses can be accurately claimed.

Stepter said that the IRS offers information on what to do if records are destroyed and encourages those preparing for storms to investigate their disaster assistance page at irs.gov.