Items You May Need After a Disaster

Here is a starter list of some things you should buy or be prepared to look into immediately and several days after a disaster.

Contact your insurance agent re: confirm what you're covered for - out of pocket expenses? How much? And regardless - anything you buy - keep the receipt for insurance and tax purposes.


  1. Cash for purchases (reimbursable and non reimbursable)
  2. Cell phone, tablet, phone card or other method of contact
  3. WHN STAFF TIP: Out of State Contact

    Choose a person to contact if there is an emergency or disaster in your community. Why? Local phone numbers might be down or busy and you’ll need to notify others that you are okay (or need help).

  4. Clothing and personal items - Pretend you're camping in the woods for two weeks - everyone in your family will need socks, good shoes (cover the ankles!) underwear, deodorant, meds, toothbrush/paste, short and long sleeved shirts/tops, shorts, long slacks/jeans, pajamas, hat (sun protection), pajamas ... maybe diapers, formula, other items for the kids?
  5. Food - Keep receipts from grocery stores and restaurants
  6. Temporary Housing - This may be a hotel or other temporary living quarters - maybe a friend's house?
  7. Pets - Pet food, meds, leash, collar, ID - or consider boarders/pet care providers if possible
  8. Notebook/pen and envelope to track and store expenses, receipts and cash flow


Save all receipts and write down all expenses for insurance and tax purposes.

Within a Few Days Think About -

  1. Getting a very rough timeline from your insurance agent on next steps
  2. Cleaning or restoration service (clothes, house, property)
  3. Depending on the extent of damage in your area, you may need to coordinate schedules with your workplace
  4. Schedules for child care, school or other care and education providers
  5. Contacting home utility companies
  6. Contacting home mortgage holder or landlord
  7. Cleaning or restoration service (clothes, house, property)
  8. Mail box rental (if mail needs to be redirected or forwarded)
  9. Security services (to prevent looting)
  10. Storage rental unit for possessions or vehicles
  11. Tote box with folders to hold notebooks, documents and receipts for paper trail backup

If you are returning home to clean or salvage items, click here (pdf) for a form of suggested supplies.

WHN STAFF TIP: Reimbursement

If you are insured, check with your agent to see if your coverage includes reimbursement for short-term needs. Also ask to review your policy before you start the recovery process so you are clear as to what is covered and what is not.