Checklists Insurance Law

Checklist for Replacing Destroyed Documents After a Disaster

When a client’s home has been destroyed by a fire or other disaster, the loss can be overwhelming. Although there will be much to replace, they may not think of the important documents and records. Here’s a handy checklist to help those affected by disaster remember what they lost and get the replacements they need.

The following list is adapted from Morrison & Foerster, LLP’s 2017 Northern California Wildfires Helping Handbook. Refer to this Handbook for more detail on how to obtain each of these documents:

___ Social Security Card. Individuals can obtain a replacement card by submitting Form SS-5 to the Social Security Administration.

___ Medicare Card. Apply to the Social Security Administration for a replacement card. If a new card is needed immediately, call the local social security office or 800-772-1213.

___ Tax Returns. Copies of tax returns are available from the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board.

___  Passport. Complete the forms to replace a lost passport. Applicants must file a statement on the lost passport along with a new passport form.

___  Driver’s License/ID Card.  Either visit a local Department of Motor Vehicles office or go online to submit an application for a new card.

___ Title Certificates. To replace a certificate of title to a car, boat, or vessel, complete an application for a duplicate title and submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

___ Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates. Certified copies of these records can be obtained from the County Recorder’s office in the county where the event occurred or from the Office of Vital Records.

___  Military Service Records. Military personnel records are available by request from the National Archives.

___ Immunization Records. Immunization records may be obtained from the health care provider or the California Immunization Registry.

___  Real Property Deeds. Certified copies of deeds are available at the County Recorder’s office in the county where the property is located.

___  Insurance Policies. Contact the insurance agent or company to get a copy of the policy.

Morrison & Foerster’s Handbook also includes detailed information on how to replace immigration documents, including Green Cards.

CEB stands with the victims of the recent California wild fires and offers free information (a free program offering 1.5 hours MCLE credit on commercial property insurance, and a free book chapter on property insurance basics from CEB’s Real Property Ownership and Taxation) to help attorneys who are representing those affected. We also know that many attorneys were victims of the wild fires and offer them free replacement copies of their CEB materials. To take advantage of these offers, check out the Disaster Response Resources page on

Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:

© The Regents of the University of California, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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