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2Jun. 2014

Get Smart: Inventory Your Belongings

Unless you are a brilliant scientist with a photographic (or eidetic) memory, you probably wouldn’t be able to recall the entire contents of a room in your house. Even if you use that room every day.

To see my point, try this exercise. Go into your den and close your eyes. Try to name everything in the room. Then open your eyes and notice what you forgot. Did you remember all of your electronics? Artwork? Furniture? Lamps? Books?

You get the idea.

On a daily basis, you don’t need to be able to list everything you own. But if you ever encountered a loss, you would want to recall it all to receive enough compensation from your insurance company to replace all of your belongings.

If you think remembering what you have in any one room is hard on an average day like today, it can be twenty times harder if you are dealing with the trauma of a theft, fire or tornado.

In the event of a loss, insurance companies require you to file a detailed claim for all of the items that you want reimbursed. To save yourself the trauma and aggravation of having to reconstitute the contents of a room or of your entire home when you have experienced a loss, create a home inventory.

A detailed inventory of your possessions can mean recovering thousands of dollars more than you would by relying on your memory alone.

A home inventory has several benefits:

1. It helps you ensure that you have sufficient insurance coverage. By documenting your possessions and assessing their value, you can check to see if you have enough coverage. (You should also check to see that your insurance policy has an endorsement that would provide the replacement cost of the items rather than the market value.)

2. It enables you to file a claim faster in the event of a loss. Your inventory will help you recall and list your possessions faster.

3. It ensures that you get reimbursed for everything you lost.

4. It avoids aggravating your trauma with the burden of remembering everything you had.

Creating a home inventory does not require a huge investment in time or years-long hoarding of receipts. In fact, all you need to do is whip out your cell phone.

Cell phones have come a long way since Maxwell Smart turned heads and dashed into closets when his shoe rang. Today you can take pictures, store them and send them in just minutes with your cell phone.

So pull out your phone and follow these simple tips to create a home inventory in less time than it takes to watch four episodes of Get Smart:

• Go room by room. It is easier to catalog your possessions that way.

• Take pictures of each area in the room. Visuals can help you recall your possessions faster. If you prefer you can make a video of the room and add audio to comment on special items and their value.

• Be comprehensive with your photos. Open cabinets, closets, drawers and jewelry boxes to ensure you get a visual record of everything. Shoes, neckties, coats and handbags can be costly to replace. Be sure to include them.

• Store one copy on your phone and one or two more outside of your home. Email them to yourself if you can access your email away from your home. Consider emailing a copy to a friend or family member.

If you don’t have one already, invest an hour or two this weekend to create a home inventory. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do you’ll be so glad you took the time.

Please email me if you have any questions or to let me know how you did with your den exercise!


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