Be Prepared If Disaster Strikes

Whether or not a natural disaster is likely to occur where you live, it's essential to be prepared for the unexpected—both physically and financially.

While a plan for the basics of food, water and shelter are top priority, having the information needed to manage your finances is just as important.

Create a financial emergency kit

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of financial information you have—knowing which documents you should keep can be confusing. Creating a family records almanac—everything from financial account numbers to family histories—can help provide peace of mind knowing you can easily find what you need, when you need it.

Here are the types of documents to include in your almanac:

  • List of contacts – Gather not only numbers of friends and family, but also school, doctor, your insurance agent and financial advisor contact information
  • Identification – Collect copies of driver's licenses, birth certificates and passports
  • Financial information – List account numbers along with user IDs and passwords for your bank accounts, as well as mortgage, credit card and investment accounts
  • Insurance – Include homeowners/renters insurance along with auto and life policies

Originals of important documents are best stored in a safe deposit box—copies can be kept in your financial emergency kit. If you decide to digitize your records, save them in the cloud, or somewhere in addition to your personal computer, that isn't susceptible to fire and flood damage. Valuable items, such as stock certificates and negotiable bonds, should be kept in a safe deposit box.

Disaster recovery is difficult, but spending a little time organizing what you'll need to get back on your feet will go a long way.

Have an evacuation plan

In the confusion of a disaster, it's important to be able to find and contact family members. Establish a location to meet and a travel route to use in case you have to get out of where you are immediately. Be sure everyone knows where the financial emergency kit is kept so it can be gathered quickly.

Keep mobile devices charged, but also have a list of important phone numbers in case the battery dies or you can't get a signal. Make sure you have enough cash for a few days' worth of food and living expenses.

No one can prevent or know where a natural disaster will occur. However, having personal and financial information safe and available can make recovery easier.

Related topics

Everyday Security  (Article)

It's important to know how to apply everyday security measures—things like ATM security, protecting your mail and having an organized financial system.

Safe Deposit Boxes  (Article)

When renting a safe deposit box, consider what size you’ll need, who else will have access, and appropriate items to keep in the box.

The information provided is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. BB&T hopes you find this information useful but we cannot guarantee that it is accurate, up to date, or appropriate for your situation. Financial calculators are provided to assist you in estimating the approximate costs associated with any bank activity. Your actual costs may vary. You should consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor to understand how the law applies to your particular circumstances or for financial information specific to your personal or business situation.

Branch Banking and Trust Company, Member FDIC.

New York City residents: Translation or other language access services may be available. When calling our office regarding collection activity, if you speak a language other than English and need verbal translation services, be sure to inform the representative. A description and translation of commonly-used debt collection terms is available in multiple languages at

Branch Banking and Trust Company is now Truist Bank. Learn more.

BB&T and SunTrust have merged to become Truist. Both institutions will continue to offer independent product lines for a period of time. This may include differing underwriting guidelines, product features, terms, fees and pricing. Our friendly teammates at your local SunTrust branches will be happy to walk you through their respective products. You can also learn more by contacting them at 800-SUNTRUST or

BB&T Complete Client Protection

about Truist Bank