Replacing Important Records and Documents After a Flood

Birth and Death Certificates
In order to replace your damaged or destroyed birth and death certificates, contact your individual state’s Bureau of Vital Record and Health Statistics, where they are usually filed. You’ll need to either fill out the proper form provided by your state requesting a new certificate or write a letter with all the pertinent information:

  • Name of person born or name of deceased
  • Birth date or date of death
  • City and county where birth or death occurred
  • Parent’s names including mother’s maiden name for birth certificates or your relationship to the deceased for a death certificates

Many states will allow you to request new certificates online as well.
If you live in the same county where the births and deaths occurred, you may be able to save some time by going to your County Recorder’s Office, where they should have most licenses and certificates on file.

Marriage Licenses and Divorce Records
To get a duplicate of your marriage license or copies of divorce records, contact your County Recorder’s Office that issued the original marriage license or the county where the divorce took place. You will need the following information:

  • Names of spouses, plus bride’s maiden name / Names of both spouses for divorce
  • The number of your case, if requesting a copy of your divorce decree
  • Marriage date / Divorce date
  • Personal identification may be requested to begin the search

For records of birth or death certificates, who died or were born outside the United States, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/foreign.htm
A good website to find specific information in regard to your state is the following website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm

Adoption Decrees
These can also be found at the County Recorder’s Office, if the adoption took place in your local county. If not, you will need to contact the county where the adoption was handled. You’ll need to provide the following important information in writing in order to replace the documents you seek:

  • Birth date
  • Names of birth parents (if it was an open adoption) and names of the adoptive parents

*A fee will most likely be charged for all the above services.

State ID Cards or Driver’s License
To get a new driver’s license or ID card, inquire at your local department of motor vehicles and remember to take some form of identification with you. For example:

  • An old driver’s license or ID card
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • Military ID or passport
  • Your social security card will most likely be required at some point in the process

Social Security Card or Passport
The best way to begin your request for a new social security card, is to contact your local Social Security Administration office. If you’re not sure where that is, check out the following website:

Social Security Office Locator
You’ll need to fill out the proper form, which can be downloaded from the following website or requested from the contact information below:
http://ssa.gov/ssnumber/

or

Office of Public Inquiries
Social Security Administration
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235

If you have any more questions regarding your damaged or destroyed Social Security card, the following website will provide further contact information: Office of Public Inquiries

For lost or damaged passports, check out the following website:
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/lost-stolen.html

Click on ‘Your U.S. Passport’ and go to ‘Lost or Stolen Passports.’ There you will find all the information necessary to request a new passport.
After filling out the proper form, mail it to:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington DC 20036

Automobile Titles and Registrations of all Licensed Vehicles or Trailers
Go to your county’s Department of Motor Vehicles. You can use DMV.org to find your local office. For Washington residents go to the following page to find your local office: http://www.dol.wa.gov/officelocations.html. At each of these sites you can fill out individual forms for each title and registration you need to replace. Remember to take the following items to ensure a speedy and problem free process:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Insurance papers that list the year, model and make of the car
  • The number on your license plate
  • A VIN number may help as well

There will be a fee involved in this process, so be prepared for that as well.

Credit cards
You’ll need to contact each one of the credit card institutions separately and request a new card.
American Express: 1-800-528-4800 or 1-800-992-3404
Discover: 1-800-347-2683 or https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/faqs/lost-stolen.html
Master Card: 1-800-622-7747 or http://m.mastercard.com/support/lost-or-stolen-card.html
Visa: 1-800-847-2911 or http://usa.visa.com/personal/card-benefits/credit-card/lost-stolen-card.jsp

Military Discharge Papers
The proper form is essential to replacing your military discharge papers. For quick access to the necessary form, go to:
http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html
Or to request the form by mail, contact:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63138

After you’ve filled out the proper form you will need to mail it to:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5011

You may also fax the form to 314-801-9195.

Property Deeds and tax receipts
Your local County Clerk’s Office or the Clerk’s Office in the county where the property is located is the best place to request copies of documents related to property ownership and property tax. To ensure the process runs more smoothly, take the following information with you:

  • Block, parcel or lot number of your home and property
  • Date (or close approximation) of when the property was purchased

You will most likely have to pay a copy charge to receive the new documents.

Insurance policies, Mortgage papers and Wills
Each of the documents respective to these three areas can be obtained by contacting your:

  • Insurance agent
  • Bank, mortgage company, or lending institution loan officer
  • Attorney who prepared the will or trust

It will expedite the process greatly if you have your policy numbers, account numbers and vital information with you when you inquire at each agency, bank or firm.
You’ll most likely be charged fees for the duplicate copies.

Notes and Savings Bonds
You can either contact the Treasury by phone at: 304-480-7527 or download the proper form at: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf
Depending on the type of savings bonds, you will need to mail the form to the Department of the Treasury at either of the two addresses provided on page 7 of the application.

Naturalization and Citizenship papers
For the best way to replace important documents such as:

  • Immigration
  • Citizenship
  • Re-entry permit
  • Green Card/ Permanent residency
  • Employee authorization

You will need to fill out the proper form found on the following website: http://www.uscis.gov/
Another source is your County Courthouse. They may be able to help you as well.

Income Tax Returns
In order to get duplicates of your income tax returns, you will need to contact the IRS office nearest to you. To find the closest IRS office go to:
Contact Your Local IRS Office

After you’ve located the closest IRS office, contact them and request the proper form. Go here for help on the process and the different forms.

You can also contact the IRS directly at: 800 829 3676.

To make this process easier, we recommend that you create a home inventory and include information here about all your important documents and account information.