How to make an Emergency Binder

Image from Nancy Wombat on flickr

I take care of the online banking and bill paying for our family and have a multitude of passwords and website addresses stored in my head.  My husband has lamented the fact that if something happened to me he wouldn’t know how to access a lot of our information. Because of this, I am putting together an emergency binder, full of all these details, so that if something does happen, he won’t have the added stress of not knowing how to pay our bills! He is very happy about this project :)

While the purpose of this binder is to provide a tool for my husband should I no longer be around, it would also be helpful to have all of this information in case of other emergencies or in the event of a natural disaster.

First things first:

Get a binder, some paper, and at least an hour of your time.   Gather bills, statements, and any other information you want to record.

What to include in your Emergency Binder:

  • A list of all credit card and bank accounts along with their accompanying details: account numbers, phone numbers, websites and passwords.
  • Websites and Passwords – Besides banking, what other passwords would be needed?  Other memberships?  Your blog?
  • Utility information (Water, Gas, Electricity): Company name and phone number, account details.
  • Bills – list regular bills and any information that may be helpful concerning them.  Are there any extra details or quirks that are part of paying particular bills?   Are they paid monthly or quarterly?  Any information like this will be appreciated.
  • Passports*
  • Birth certificates*
  • Social security cards*
  • Vaccination records or waivers*

*If you do not wish to keep the originals in the binder, then a photocopy or a  note stating where it is located would be helpful.

  • Insurance policy information: auto, health, home, life, etc.
  • Information for dealing with any health issues your children may have.  Do they need medication?  If so, provide the name of medication and dosage information. Include the name and phone number of prescribing physician or child’s current doctor.
  • Important contact information: phone, address and email.
    - Doctor’s office
    - Family and friends
    - Business associates

Important!

I am a little paranoid when it comes to computers and hackers…so, I am writing my list by hand.  If you decide to type this up, don’t store the information on your computer!

Where to Store your Binder

Mine is going to live in the safe.  We have a huge safe that is waterproof and fireproof.  It is actually quite ridiculous and extremely un-necessary! (I bought it when the town we were living in had a string of fires.)  The plus side is that it is big enough to hold CD-Rom copies of all our pictures as well as documents.  The down side is that you can’t grab it and go!  It is way too heavy.  A small, portable safe or lockbox might be a wiser choice.

Whatever you decide, make sure you tell your spouse where the emergency binder is located!

I know this is a huge task.  But think of the peace it could bring your family if it is ever needed.  Also think of the peace it can give you right now, just knowing it is there.

I’m sure I left out some important information!  Hopefully you can see the general idea and tailor it to fit your family.

What did I miss?  What would you include in your Emergency Binder?

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