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What’s In Your Castle? Time For Home Inventory.

August 10, 2011

I keep thinking about those poor tornado victims in Joplin and I know there is a valuable lesson we can all take from their tragedy.

Kitchen InventoryThey say a man’s home is his castle.  And in that castle we keep all of our treasured worldly possessions.  But what if we came home tomorrow to find that our home wasn’t there? What if we lost everything to a fire or tornado?  That’s what homeowners or renters insurance is for, right?  Well, sort of.  But the insurance company isn’t going to just write us a check for our coverage limits.  They are going to ask us what we lost.  To say, “I lost everything!” will certainly lead to the insurance adjuster’s compassion but really won’t speed the process along very much.

You loved your great grandmother’s antique dresser and your prized Mickey Mantle autographed baseball but what proof do you have that you really owned these?  “What?  I need proof!”

Personal InventoryIf you are ever in this situation, rest assured you will be plenty stressed out already from the calamity of losing everything.  How would you ever remember everything you owned?  Having an inventory of your household items will not only lend credence to your insurance claim but will help you remember the things you owned if you can no longer see them.

There are software programs that can help. There are even iPhone and Android apps that will walk you through the inventory process.  There is still so much work involved in entering everything into the program, that the work may never actually get done.  There is an easier way.  Use  your camcorder, digital camera that has the ability to take good video, or borrow a friend’s and take 30 minutes to walk through your home videotaping your things.  Open up each cabinet and dresser drawer.  Videotape your closet, your garage and even the pile of junk you hide under the stairs that you haven’t had time to organize yet.  As you videotape, talk to the camera.  Describe the items of particular value.  Home InventoryTalk about when you purchased the item, the price you paid, what you think it is worth, the year, manufacturer, model or anything else that may be pertinent.  You can videotape serial numbers of appliances and electronics if they are easily accessible.  Just don’t make the task too overwhelming.  Remember, the main goal is just to get it done.

You don’t have to pull everything out nor will you be limited to just the items on the recording.  It will be a tremendous asset to you though in recounting your possessions and will provide a clearer picture to the insurance company of the type of items you had.

The video should be kept in a safe deposit box at the bank, with a trusted friend or family member or in a fire-proof safe. As long as you’re at it, go ahead and put negatives or backup disks of your precious photos in this box.  After all, there are some things insurance just cannot replace.

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