The 2020 hurricane season is here and it’s essential for Florida families and businesses to be prepared. One of the most important things you can do for hurricane preparedness is to protect your personal and sensitive documents to ensure they aren’t damaged or destroyed during a storm.
At Gilmore Services, we have decades of experience in document storage and we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for hurricane season by storing your documents.
Which Documents Should You Protect?
Let’s start by talking about which documents you should protect. Some may be obvious while others might surprise you.
For individuals and families, you should secure your:
- Copies of tax returns and supporting documentation
- Legal documents, including your mortgage and car loan, marriage and divorce certificates, and birth and death certificates
- Your Social Security card(s) and statements
- ID cards and passports
- Insurance policies
- Wills and powers of attorney
- Warranties and receipts
If you are a business owner, you’ll need to secure the following documents:
- General business documents (articles of incorporation, corporate minutes, etc.)
- Tax returns and supporting documentation
- Bank statements
- Employee records
- Invoices (accounts payable and accounts receivable)
- Office supply expenses
- Home office expenses
- Vehicle and mileage expenses
- Advertising expenses
- Records you are required to keep under HIPAA, FACTA, or Sarbanes-Oxley
You may have additional documents you want to protect during hurricane season, but these lists cover the basics.
What is the Best Way to Store Your Documents?
When it comes to document storage, you have multiple options. The most important thing is to keep hard copies of your most important documents in a place where they cannot be damaged or destroyed by a hurricane. For many families and businesses, offsite and secure document storage is the best choice.
However, you may also want to consider document imaging, so that you have backups of the documents you need if they are damaged or destroyed. At Gilmore Services, we offer both secure document storage and document imaging.
With document imaging, you can access your documents at any time via the cloud. That makes imaging ideal for business continuity and for families.
What to Look for in a Storage Partner
The best storage partner is a Florida company that understands the specific risks associated with document storage in our beautiful state. These include:
- Storms, including hurricanes
The storage company you choose to protect your documents should have the following qualities:
- A secure storage facility protected with locks, security cameras, and rigorous employee background checks.
- Climate control to protect your documents from Florida’s heat and humidity.
- A backup generator to ensure your documents aren’t damaged or inaccessible because of a power loss or blackout.
- Experience handling business documents in accordance with regulations, including FACTA, HIPAA, and Sarbanes Oxley.
We strongly suggest that you research any storage company you are considering before you entrust them with your documents. Reading online reviews, checking references, and asking detailed questions about the facility will help you make an informed decision.
Our recommendation is that business owners partner with an experienced document storage company and create a disaster recovery plan for their business. With temperatures rising and the COVID-19 pandemic complicating personal interactions, it’s more important than ever to think about how your business will operate in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Preparing for hurricane season is a must, and there’s no better time to gather and secure your most important personal and business documents.
Need help with hurricane readiness and document storage? Click here to find out how we can assist you!