Compile an inventory of your important possessions

In the event of severe damage to your home or business, having a current inventory of your possessions — including their make and model numbers — can help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. While most people think of their home when discussing an inventory, it is important to document the contents of your business as well.

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Here are some suggestions for getting started.

  • Take a picture. Take pictures of rooms and important individual items. Label pictures with a description, including where you bought it and the make, model and serial number. Remember items that are in storage closets or drawers.
  • Video record it. Walk through your home or office with a video recorder or tape recorder and describe the contents.
  • Create an electronic file – Use your computer or mobile device to create and store your inventory list. Take advantage of mobile applications or free online software like www.knowyourstuff.org to organize pictures or descriptions of your belongings by room or category.
  • Store the list, photos and tapes. Regardless of how you create it (written or electronic list, flash drive, photos, video or audio), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box, on a disk or at a friend or colleague’s home. Doing so will help ensure you will have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to the inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
  • Consider expensive items. Valuable items like jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.

This information was taken from an article from the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org)

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