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Disaster Preparedness

Legal preparation is necessary in order to easily obtain financial and legal assistance, secure housing, protect your family, maintain employment and avoid other common problems in the aftermath of a disaster.

Louisianans know too well how critical preparation is when facing a natural disaster, from stocking up on food and batteries to forming an evacuation plan.

Legal preparation  is also necessary in order to easily obtain  financial and legal assistance, secure housing, protect your family, maintain employment and avoid other common problems in the aftermath of a  disaster.

The actions suggested on this page are designed to mitigate the impact of future disasters and help you recover more quickly.  

Maintain a Clear Title:

  • In order to receive assistance to rebuild your home you will need to provide proof of ownership. It is important to maintain a clear title over your home and other property.
  • If you have inherited any property, open   succession to officially pass title into your name. This can often be accomplished with an affidavit.
  • Stay current on your property taxes.


  • Clarify your coverage before a disaster hits. Homeowner’s insurance typically covers loss of possessions and some structure damage, but might not include flood, wind, and hurricane coverage.
  • Understand how to file a claim, the claims process can differ by company
  • Renters can also obtain insurance for damaged possessions and relocation costs.
  • Know your coverage: the amount of coverage and the deductible may be different depending on the type of disaster.
  • Did you recently obtain insurance? Many plans do not cover disasters that occur within the first month of coverage.


  • See if your employer has a disaster plan. You may have responsibilities in the event of a disaster.
  • If you have an employment contract keep a copy of it in a safe place.
  • Review your employment contract for information about termination policies in the event of a disaster or displacement.
  • Review policies regarding Disaster Unemployment Benefits before you need them.

Family Issues:

  • It is important to have all documentation   related to your family, your children, and their schools before disaster hits.
  • Establish custody over your children if you are no longer with the other parent. Keep the files on hand
  • Keep school enrollment paperwork on hand
  • Have your child’s medical information accessible

Landlord/Tenant Issues:

  • Always have a copy of your lease. Make sure you’ve read all of the provisions closely.
  • Consider your method of payment. See if your landlord will accept electronic or recurring payments so you don’t fall behind and risk eviction in the event of an evacuation.
  • Swap evacuation contact information and emergency contacts with your landlord so you can maintain a line of communication.
  • Review your lease for any information regarding responsibility for disaster-related damages.
  • Renters can have insurance too. Consider purchasing low-cost rent insurance to cover possession and evacuation costs.

It is important that you can be contacted by the people in your life and that you can contact them in case of emergency. Exchange emergency evacuation plans and contact information with relevant parties:

  • Insurance providers
  • Landlord
  • Employer
  • Your child’s school
  • Family, especially anyone included in a custody or support order


Legal Documents Check-List
Easy access to critical documents can save you time and money as well as ensure that you get proper assistance. Keep a copy of these documents on hand and a digital copy online


  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Green Card
  • Visa
  • Birth Certificate


  • Insurance information
  • Prescriptions


  • This may be necessary for applying for aid and for returning home if area is under disaster declaration.
  • Deed
  • Lease
  • Recent Utility Bill


  • Policies and cards


  • Custody documents
  • Protective orders
  • Divorce decrees
  • Power of attorney
  • Letters of tutorship
  • Adoption paperwork


  • Recent photos of your home, inside & out
  • Copies of bills with account numbers (you may need to put services on hold before returning home)
  • Recent pay stub
  • Employment contract
Connect with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center