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Why It’s Important to do a Home Inventory

If your home is struck by a burglar or a fire, an up-to-date home inventory will make it easier to deal with police and your insurance company. Without an up-to-date inventory, you’ll have to create a list of all your property from memory.

Fortunately, creating a home inventory isn’t nearly the time consuming task it used to be. Creating an inventory and keeping it current prepares you for possible losses—and, it can also help you prevent losses from happening. As you inventory your possessions, you’ll become more aware of their vulnerability. Then you can take steps to make them more secure.

The easiest way to inventory your home is with a video camera. As you photograph your possessions, describe them, including their value and whether or not they are marked with ID or serial numbers. Go room by room, including the garage, attic and basement. Be sure to include jewelry, clothing, stamp and coin collections, CD and record collections, silver, tools, electronic equipment and anything else of significant value.

Another way to do an inventory is with a pad of paper and a still camera. Again, take photographs of everything and write down the details. Once you’ve documented everything, it’s a good idea to formalize our inventory. Many insurance companies offer home inventory forms. Also, there are computer software packages specifically designed for home inventory applications.

Whatever method you choose, you should record key information about each item, including: complete descriptions—make, model and serial numbers—and estimated values. Next, keep your written and photographic inventory in a safe place, such as a good quality fire-resistant file or in a bank safe deposit box. Keep at least one copy away from your home. If you plan to travel, it’s a good idea to give a copy of your home inventory to a trusted neighbor or relative.

That way, if there is a loss while you’re away, they can report what’s missing or damaged to the police or your insurance company. When you consider the alternative, taking the time to create a home inventory before it’s needed makes very good sense.

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