If you had an emergency, would you know where your important documents were? If your home or business had a fire, would you be able to tell your insurance agent all of the things that you own? What would you remember and what would you forget? Could you list the brand, serial number, model and cost? No? Neither could I if I relied on my memory! Read on for more reasons an inventory is important and what you can do right now.
If you have a well prepared inventory, you will be able to answer the insurance adjuster's questions easily. Even FEMA suggests that you have an inventory. So, why do they do this? A complete inventory is the only solid way of providing evidence that you need to justify your claim. Is that the only reason to have an inventory? Nope! Inventories also help with preparing for estate planning, assisting in moving and storage projects, and making sure you have adequate insurance coverage. The listing is also really beneficial if you have a theft. The police department can take your listing and help to identify your stolen items to facilitate recovery of the items.
So, what is an inventory?
It is a detailed list (with pictures) of your belongings for your home and/or business. It is not as hard as it might seem to create one. Here are the things you can do:
- Create a video recording of the outside of your building.
- Create a video recording of each room in your house/building.
- Make sure to have pictures of one-of-a-kind items as well as collectibles and antiques.
- Create a written listing of every item including the item name, model number, serial number, manufacturer of all of your electronic equipment and appliances.
- Create a written listing of other items in your home of great value such as furniture, software, etc.
- Create a written listing of average numbers. For example, “6 pairs of men's dress pants.”
Where to store your inventory
Make sure that you think through where you will store the video and documentation. At a minimum, you will need a fire-proof box. The safest location is to have it in a safe-deposit box. You might also consider making a copy and having that copy at a family member's or friend's home.
Tools you could use to create your inventory
There are a number of tools out on the market to create your inventory. A simple excel or word file can work if you do not want to do any complex searching or sorting of the information. I personally like Paper Tiger. I use Paper Tiger for my filing and other inventory, so it just makes sense to use the same tool for my home and office inventory too.
Don't want to do it on your own?
Let me know! I will help you find a qualified professional to help you get your inventory complete. There are a number of qualified consultants that help home owners and business owners develop quality and easy-to-use inventories.
Do you have an inventory? How did you make yours? Let me know!