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Emergency planning: Give family members important documents

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Haiti’s earthquake in January was a sobering event on many levels, and serves as a reminder to prepare your household for catastrophe.

Buying adequate insurance is the first step, but emergency planning goes beyond that.

In the event of a regional catastrophe such as Haiti experienced, your local insurance agency would likely be suffering the same fate as your home and/or car.

Don’t count on your local insurance agent (if you have one) to provide information if the worst case scenario happens.

Make copies of important information, like insurance policies and documentation for bank accounts, and store them away from your home.

In particular, certified copies of actual documents are important to obtain and store safely. Give one set of copies to a trusted person (who lives in another city or state, if possible), and make contingency plans with him or her for what to do in an emergency.

For more details about emergency planning for your household, see the Red Cross.

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