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Flood protection


Clemson University experts say keeping important papers safe from fire or flood in a fire-resistant/waterproof file box, or digitally can help speed up any insurance claims that may need to be filed following a disaster.


CLEMSON — With Hurricane Florence threatening the Carolinas, agricultural producers need to be sure they have all important documents safeguarded.

This includes having updated inventories of all possessions — business and personal — in the event insurance claims are filed once the storm passes.

“An inventory will prove the value of any possessions that are damaged or destroyed,” said Nathan Smith, Clemson professor of agribusiness production.

An inventory consists of a description of each item, including model and serial numbers, as well as when items were bought and how much each item cost. It also is a good idea to have photos and/or videos to accompany such an inventory.

Inventories can be kept in both digital and printed forms. Smith said it’s important to keep up-to-date copies in a secure place.

“Valuable papers should be kept in watertight, fireproof, locked containers,” he said. “This will help ensure access in the event of a disaster.”

Scott Mickey, Clemson farm business consultant, said people should consider scanning these documents and saving them on the cloud.

A list of valuable documents that should be kept in a safe deposit box or other secure location includes:

  • Crop and livestock sales and purchase records.
  • Copies of insurance policies.
  • Income tax returns for at least the past seven tax years.
  • Copyrights and patents.
  • Contracts (including promissory notes).
  • Certificates of stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Important receipts and bills of sale.
  • Supporting documents for years of large transactions, unusual losses or deductions.
  • Automobile titles and bills of sale.
  • Social Security cards.
  • Copies of wills.
  • Marriage licenses.
  • Passports.
  • Immunization and medical records.
  • Trust agreements, living wills, powers of attorney.

Valuable papers that can be kept at home in watertight, fireproof locked boxes include:

  • Safe deposit box key.
  • Safe deposit record and inventory of items.
  • List of emergency contacts, such as doctors, veterinarians, clergy, reputable repair contractors and family members.
  • Rental property records.
  • Guarantees and warranties.
  • Appliance manuals.
  • Copies of insurance policies.
  • Loan payment books
  • Employee benefits.
  • Bank account, loan, credit card, investment account numbers.
  • Social Security and driver’s license numbers.
  • Copies of veterinary and/or vaccination records.
  • List of logins and passwords for accessing online accounts.

For more information on how to prepare for a storm, go to

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Denise Attaway reports for Public Service and Agriculture in the Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.


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