Replacing Important Papers

Disaster can hit at any time and any place. It is important to keep valuable papers in a safe location. If storing paperwork at home, it should be in a waterproof, fire-resistant box. However, as many have discovered, that may not be enough.
Not only were homes damaged by the recent severe storms, flooding, landslides or mudslides throughout the nation, but many survivors also lost valuable personal documents. The documents include everything from social security cards to driver licenses to credit cards. 

The following is a partial list of ways to get duplicates of destroyed or missing documents:

Birth and Death Certificates – Birth and death certificates can be replaced by visiting a county vital records office or online at

Marriage Certificates – The online link for replacement of marriage certificates is

Marriage Dissolutions (divorces) – The online link for divorce decree replacements is

Immigration Documents – Contact the county office or the site below for citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, re-entry permit and more.

Driver Licenses – Visit any driver license office with acceptable identification and proof of address. Fee required.

Vehicle Registration, License Tab or Title – Contact the county motor vehicle office. Proof of insurance and vehicle emissions will be required. Fees administered by county.

Passport – Complete form DS-64 from

Military Records – Request Standard Form 180 (SF-180) from any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW or Red Cross, or download from

Mortgage Papers – Contact the lending institution

Property Deeds – Contact the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located

Insurance Policies – Contact the insurance company for replacement papers

Social Security Card – Go to a Social Security Administration office. To request a copy of a social security statement online, go to www.ssa.go

Transcript of Your Tax Return – Call the nearest Treasury Department office, IRS office or 800-829-3646; request form 4506. To find a local IRS office, go to

Savings Bonds/Notes – Complete Form PDF 1048 (claim for lost, stolen or destroyed U.S. savings bonds); available by calling 304-480-6112 or at

Credit Cards – American Express, 800-528-4800; Discover, 800-347-2683; MasterCard, 800-622-7747; Visa, 800-847-2911

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