More good news: Losses of account funds due to the bankruptcy or other closure of a brokerage that is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and that holds our bonds, bond mutual funds, or shares of our exchange traded funds, stocks, or stock funds, are protected up to $500,000 per account by the SIPC. Certain key deadlines apply. For example, one should expect no joy if filing a claim with the SIPC more than six months after a loss has occurred.
Moreover, if a terrorist act shuts down the exchanges on which our shares are traded, it may be quite awhile before buying and selling, and hence accesses to those assets' redemption values, are restored. However, if we own pieces (shares) of strong businesses, chances are good that eventually they will regain the pre-terrorism values and prove to have been worthwhile investments, despite such contingencies as limited wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, or the destruction of Wall Street. (If the Big Apple, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco are nuked at essentially the same time, all bets are off.)
Considering that neither the FDIC nor SIPC are likely to cover losses due to most account circumstances other than failure of the institution holding one's assets, it seems wise to check with the particular bank, credit union, mutual fund company, brokerage, or other financial entity to learn in advance of an adverse incident exactly how one is or is not protected and what steps he or she can take to minimize theft, losses from incompetent handling of our records or resources, and so forth.