My husband’s driver’s license expired last month, and we weren’t on top of it. Yesterday, we began gathering up the documentation needed to satisfy a new law that went into effect this year in Utah, where we live. Now, everyone getting a driver’s license — even if it is a renewal license — is required to show proof of lawful resident status in the United States. For U.S. citizens, this means an original birth certificate, or official copy, or an unexpired passport. A look at my husband’s passport showed that it was expired. (And reminded me that mine is expired too; clearly we don’t leave the country enough.)
Photo by mrmanc via Flickr
The expired passport triggered a search for his official birth certificate copy. I’m embarrassed to say that we couldn’t find it. Anywhere. Mine didn’t turn up, either. As a result of this situation, we are going to be paying for replacement identification. We have two options in this situation:
We’re currently going with the birth certificate method, since it will be here faster even than an expedited passport card, which can take two to three weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I have to drive my husband around, since we don’t want to risk the costs that come with him getting nailed for driving on an expired license. But even that requires a cost — gas and the value of my time.
Of course, if I knew where my husband’s birth certificate was, this wouldn’t be an issue. He’d have his shiny new driver’s license in hand right now. Our big problem is that we don’t have our birth certificates in a centralized place with our insurance policies and our marriage license (I do know where these things are). Another issue of concern is that these important identifying and financial documents are not in a fire safe. They are in a metal file cabinet — I still don’t know why our birth certificates aren’t; my son’s is — but not one that could withstand fire. It would probably let in leaks during a flood.
For around $100, we could have a decent, small fire safe large enough for important financial and identification documents. This incident was a real wake-up call for me. What would the financial toll be if insurance documents and other documents were destroyed in a some kind of catastrophe? Much larger than the $100 it would cost to get a safe. And I’d know exactly where everything important is stored.