So today I wanted to share with you our emergency binder. Basically it’s where all of our important papers live and is one of the few things we would grab if there were a fire or if we had to leave the house in a moments notice. This binder would also serve to keep my husband’s sanity should anything ever happen to me. I handle all the important papers, tasks, and finances for our household. Although I love my husband to death, he’s a little clueless when it comes to these things. So this binder includes everything he would need to know if something were to happen. I encourage everyone to make an emergency binder to make life a little easier should the need arise. I do sell the printables you see above as a huge bundle in my Etsy shop (link below).
So the binder itself, It’s just a simple decorative binder with 2″ rings and is filled with plastic protective sheets, a card holder sheet, a pencil case, and dividers. The binder is split into 5 sections: Personal Info, Tax Documents, Home, Vehicles, and Business. Below is a list of all the things I put into each section.
- Emergency Info (Home info, rescue contacts [fire, police, poison control, etc.], family contacts, utility contacts, and medical contacts)*
- Medical Info pages for each family member*
- Pet Info pages for each pet*
- Photo copies of our licenses
- A recent picture of our child
- Marriage license
- Birth certificates
- Shot records
- Licenses and certifications
- High school diplomas
- College diplomas
- Social security cards
- Voter’s registration cards
- Health insurance and dental cards
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement fund info
- Bank account info*
- Credit card info*
- Password keeper*
- 2 years of W2s
- 2 years of tax returns
- Any other tax related form for the past 2 years
**All tax documents older than 2 years are stored in my secondary important papers folder.
- Homeowners insurance policy
- 2 years worth of real estate tax documents
- Any home warranties that are still valid
- Home inventory (a list of all your expensive items kept in your home including the brand name, model, serial number, and MSRP)
- Vehicle maintenance log for each vehicle*
- Vehicle financing documents
- Vehicle titles
- Copy of car insurance coverage summary
- Copy of car insurance cards
- Articles of organization
- EIN numbers
- 2 years of tax documents (business only)
- Business info
- Bank account info* (business only)
- Password keeper* (business only)
- Insurance info if applicable* (business only)
- Yearly reports
- Yearly expenses spreadsheet
The pencil pouch holds two external hard drives that have all of our digital pictures and important computer documents on it (I update these at the end of the year). A few years back I had scanned in all of our old printed photos and uploaded them to Dropbox so our extended family could access them. I also keep a copy of those on the external hard drives. It would be smart to also include a duplicate credit/debit card or some cash in the pencil pouch as well just in case the need arises in an emergency situation (I haven’t done this yet!.)
As I previously mentioned, I do have a secondary important papers folder to hold the overflow of less important stuff. It’s one of those big bulky accordian-type folders- I found mine at Walmart for around $20 and it’s awesome! It contains old tax documents, vet info, medical record documents and lab results, mortgage papers, recommendation letters, sentiments cards I’ve hung on to for years (I’m one of those), old business documents, credit card agreements, etc. It’s all filed by subject and within each subject, each individual year of stuff is clipped together.
Both the binder and the accordian-type folder stay at home as they both contain a lot of sensitive information. The binder stays by my bed on the nightstand shelf currently, although I am contemplating putting it by the front door when I move our command center in there. This way, it’s close by if something happens and I can easily grab it and go. The accordian-type folder is stored away in the spare closet. I go through and update these folders two times a year, around February, right after I file taxes and around October when I get our real estate tax documents and homeowner’s insurance renewal documents.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to make your own emergency binder. I hope I’ve given you a few ideas. This binder can save you a huge headache if there ever were a fire or natural disaster. (Have you ever had to wait at the SSC office? It’s terrible!) I recommend everyone make some version of their own emergency binder that works for them.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten to add some things to these lists so feel free to leave a comment if you think of something else to add. Feel free to share this with your friends and family.
*Items labeled with a * at the end indicate a sheet available in my home management binder printable set in my Etsy shop which you can check out HERE.