Take inventory before disaster hits

With headlines about natural disasters and catastrophic losses hitting the news around the world, everyone is wondering about the safety of their own homes. If a natural disaster struck your home and you lost everything, could you recall what “everything” includes?

Insurance companies ask you to place a value on what you’ve lost so you can be compensated in a claim. But who can possibly recall every item they own — especially in times of high stress? 

Create a home inventory
A home inventory is a list of every item in your home that includes a brief description of each item and its value. This list is an important way to prepare for a disaster, and there are easy ways to create your own:

  • Knowyourstuff.org This free online program helps you go through your house room by room to document every item and its value.
  • Videotape your belongings Walk through your house with a video camera, recording each item. Be sure to store the video somewhere other than your home, such as a safe-deposit box.

If you ever need to file a claim, written documentation of your home inventory will make the process easier and help settle your claim faster. You won’t have to spend days or weeks trying to recall your lost belongings, and you’ll be reimbursed for your losses sooner.

Remember to update your inventory every year or two to keep the list accurate.