Any of us who are awake and even half-listen to the TV or glance at a newspaper realize that disasters happen to all people in all areas of the country and at any time of the year. There seems to be a higher number of wildfires this year than normal and who knows how many hurricanes and tornadoes will strike this year. And don’t forget about robberies and theft. The types and number of disasters that can hit seem to be unlimited. Thank goodness we have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. By the way, do you have enough insurance? How do I know? Take some time during the next month to do these safeguards to make sure you are properly insured and that you are fairly paid back the money that the insurance company owes you should you become a victim of any disaster.
A home inventory is absolutely critical to making sure that first, you know how much insurance you need and second how much money the insurance company needs to pay you should your “stuff” get ruined. There are two important tasks here. First, we need to know what needs to be documented and second, how do we document it?
Your first job is to provide a description of everything you own. We are talking about furniture, clothing, electronics, collectibles, everything. You need to list each item and the purchase price. If you have the receipt for the more expensive items, include that with the description of the item; the date you bought the item; and if the item has a warranty, include that. For your appliances and expensive electronic equipment include the serial numbers and model numbers. If you have collectibles or expensive artwork and jewelry that are appraised, include a copy of the appraisal with the description.
It will come as no surprise to you that this is a big job. Do not expect to complete this in a week. Do yourself a favor and start with one room and have a goal to complete each room in your house or apartment in about two weeks. When the initial documented inventory is done, you can easily update it with your new purchases and remove the items you throw away.
The second step to this process is figuring out how to document your inventory for insurance purposes. There are three ways to do this. Pick the way that is the easiest and works for you.
1) If you are comfortable with a computer, you can download a free copy of an inventory program that works with a PC or Mac. Get it from knowyourstuff.org. The software program makes it fairly pain-free and reasonably quick. Save your work on several different media and keep a hard copy in your safe-deposit box.
2) You could also use a camera and photograph your possessions. With a digital camera, this should be fairly easy, also. Make a print of each of your pictures and write down the important information on the back of each picture. The advantage of using a digital camera is you can store the digital files onto several media for safekeeping. And if you getting your blog insured then you can use your online content and stats to get insurance. If you are wondering Why you need blogger insurance then you can click here to learn about that.
3) While writing down your inventory may not be the most efficient, it does work and you don’t need any additional equipment other than paper and a pen. Check with your insurance company as they may have an inventory form that could be helpful.
If you went the electronic route for your inventory, you may want to check asafespot.com. They do charge a fee, but after you have uploaded your inventory to their site, you can access your data from any computer; a definite advantage.