How to Protect Important Files and Documents from Water Damage

Flooded living room

When a storm or flood hit your home, panic and despair can leave individuals overwhelmed. Often, homeowners forget to protect important documents, such as identification and deeds, until it's too late. Recovering water-damaged documents is a possibility, however, it takes a lot of work to salvage them. For example, when reclaiming documents that have been water damaged you have to remove the papers as soon as possible before any mold has a chance to grow. You have to handle the documents with care and finesse by blotting, rather than scrubbing, air-drying and so forth.

What people don’t realize is that documents don’t have to touch the water in order to be ruined or have water damage because even the humidity in the room can affect the important and valuable documents. So the big question is, how do you plan? How do you protect important files and documents from being damaged by water?

Best Documents to Protect from Water Damage

Before planning out how you want to prevent any disastrous outcome from harming your important documents, it is wise to first establish what is most important, what is a priority to keep safe, and how to best organize them. It is always a good idea to take inventory and gather up all of your significant documents so you have an accurate picture of how much storage you will need when keeping them safe. Categories are key and help with the filing process.

Here are some examples of valuable papers to protect:

  • Identifications: Birth and marriage certificates, passports, social security cards, Photocopies of driver’s license and credit cards, military ID, address book for friends and family.
  • Home and Property: Home deed, mortgage, car titles, insurance policies, and policyholder’s contact information.
  • Estate: Will, trusts, powers-of-attorney
  • Medical: Health insurance cards, immunization records, doctors contact
  • Financial: bank statements, tax records, W2’s, important receipts, checking and savings account numbers.

How to protect documents from water damage

There are a few different ways to best protect your documents so that they don’t get destroyed but instead are protected from any outside hindrances such as water.

Some ways to protect your paperwork include:

  • Contain: Keep all documents contained in one place in your home and if possible have them condensed and stored in such a way that they are in an accessible place in case of an emergency. Invest in a waterproof and fireproof container or filing cabinet. Choose waterproof over water-resistant. Waterproof is impervious to water and unable to be affected by it, rather water resistant is simply only able to combat water for a period of time. Also, if possible store in a high location in your home.
  • Backup copies: Have a second copy of all important documents or duplicate originals and then keep them in a separate safe location in case damage couldn’t be prevented.
  • Technology: Use technology to your advantage and have electronic copies of each document and have them protected in a secure cloud, on a CD or on a hard drive.
  • Safe deposit box: Another possibility would be to have a safe deposit box, which could either be your primary place of storing or it could be filled with your secondary, backup copies. Safe deposit boxes prevent documents from being in your home in case a disaster occurred and they are highly secure in nature and prevent theft. Although it may be inconvenient when in need of a birth certificate, passport etc. and you may decide to only keep certain valuable documents contained in this type of location.

We hope these tips help keep your documents safe through any disaster. If you do have water damage in your home, turn to the Renton restoration experts at AWR Restoration & Cleaning. We are a full-service restoration company that works quickly and efficiently to protect your home and valuables. We understand that dealing with flooding and storm damage is stressful, which is why we make the recovery process simple and will even communicate directly with your insurance. Our skilled techs explain every aspect of our service and keep customers updated throughout the entire process.

To learn more about our water damage restoration in Renton, contact AWR Restoration & Cleaning today!

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