CARTHAGE, Mo. –Replacing important family documents after a tornado or flood can be a time consuming and costly exercise in frustration, according to Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

“If a disaster recently destroyed your important papers there are ways to get new documents. The process can take a while, and there may be fees involved, but obtaining replacement copies is possible,” said LaFon.

Automobile titles: License bureaus have applications for duplicate titles. You will need proof of ownership, such as a registration form or insurance papers. It is also helpful if you know the license number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Additional information can be found on the Missouri Department of Revenue website at

Birth certificates: If born in Missouri, contact any county health department and give the county where the birth took place. Or contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102, 573-751-6387,

Property deeds: Contact the Recorder of Deeds office (may be under County Circuit Court) in the county where the deed was recorded.

Driver’s licenses: These can be obtained from a license bureau. You’ll need proof of your Social Security number. Additional information can be found on the Missouri Department of Revenue website at

Social Security cards: The Social Security Administration can provide an application. You’ll need some form of identification that contains your name and Social Security number. For more information, go to and click on the link “Get or replace a Social Security card.”

Credit cards: Be sure to contact the card issuers as quickly as possible after a loss. Most credit card companies have toll-free telephone numbers. It’s much easier to get them replaced if you have your account numbers.

U.S. savings bonds: Most local banks will have copies of the form required to replace lost, stolen or destroyed bonds. Otherwise, you can visit the Bureau of the Public Debt website ( for form PDF-1048.

Certificates of deposit: Most institutions will maintain copies of the certificates in their computer systems. Contact the institution that issued your certificates.

Stock certificates: You would need to know the transfer agent who handles the stock of each company. Any local broker should be able to assist you. You will also need the name and Social Security number of the person to whom the stock was issued.