How to Create a Home InventoryA relatively inexpensive way of making any possible future insurance claims smoother is the creation of a home inventory of all your belongings as a homeowner. The creation of such an inventory for insurance purposes doesn’t have to be a complicated process. All that’s really required is paper, a pencil, and a systematic approach. The main purpose is to have proper records of your possessions in case of a theft or loss due to fire, floods, or other disasters.

When your belongings are accurately documented, there are lesser chances of running into problems at the time of filing your insurance claim. I think it’s a good idea to use a digital camera, fireproof safe, and other such equipment for the creation and storage of your home inventory.

Taking pictures

Photographs of your possessions will go a long way towards demonstrating your ownership and their value. It’s better to use digital photos since they’re simpler to store and print. Make sure you take shots of entire rooms along with closeups of individual items. Remember to take pictures of possessions within closets, drawers, and cabinets too.

Using video is even better because you can have audio recordings along with pictures. Film each room and describe items with identifying details as you move along. Make sure you have backup copies of your printouts and digital files in a secure place.

Creating a written inventory

It’s not enough to have only pictures. You should have details of your home inventory written down. When you file a claim, your insurance company will most probably ask for a written statement. Try to include as many identifying details as you can, for example, brand names, purchase dates, estimated costs, and serial numbers.

Keep copies off-site, maybe in a safe-deposit box or with a friend. This ensures your details remain intact even if your home gets destroyed. There are various types of free home inventory software that you could use to store data electronically.

Make sure receipts are attached to your inventory list. For electronic records, keep scanned copies of the receipts. Digital copies of the receipts will prove very useful if the originals are misplaced or damaged.

Storing records

It’s ideal to use a USB drive to backup up digital files. This is a sturdy and economical method. Simply copy your files to the drive and put it in a safe place, preferably external to your home.

You could also put the drive in an emergency “go” bag which is kept ready and packed always so you can grab it and leave when you need to urgently evacuate. External hard drives can be used too, though they aren’t as portable as USB drives.

For storage of drives, paper records, and other valuables; it’s a good idea to rent out a bank’s safe deposit box. If you’d rather have important documents close at hand, consider getting a fireproof safe which is typically waterproof too.

When you’re using electronic files for your home inventory, it makes good sense to use some of the available online backup systems for keeping backup copies away from your home. This is a big advantage and your records are safe even if your computer gets destroyed or stolen.

You can get some reliable backup services for free limited storage space and others at reasonable monthly charges. Choose one that best suits your requirements.

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