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The Easy Step You Might Forget

Are you reading this article on a phone? Do you have one in your pocket or handbag? If it’s a SmartPhone with a built-in video camera, STOP READING and take a quick video of your home or business property. It could take you 15 or 20 minutes to go through the rooms in your home or office but it could save you HOURS of racking your brain to document belongings if you have a property loss.

In 2013, tornadoes ripped through Washington, IL and surrounding towns, damaging or destroying 1,484 homes and leading to significant claims. Yet, how many of those families or businesses had a detailed inventory of their assets to aid in the recovery process?

If a fire or a natural disaster destroyed your home or business today, would you be able to accurately recount the contents of your life?

It’s so easy, especially with all of the technology that we have at our fingertips. Here are some tips to make sure you create something usable in case of the unthinkable.

Do it annually. 

Whether you take a video or a series of photos of your property, make sure to update them frequently. A 10-year-old video probably won’t be helpful for much more than a walk down memory lane. Planning to document belongings at least once per year, while adding additional photos or videos as you make large purchases, is a wise way to keep an updated record of possessions. Choosing a notable date like a birthday, anniversary, or simply the start of a new year as the time of your annual update will help keep you on track.

Include all spaces. 
Don’t forget to include garages and warehouse, as well as basements and copy rooms. Those are sometimes the site of valuable property but are often an afterthought in inventory.
Get Close.
A video that breezes through a room might be helpful but one that is much more so would include you speaking about what is in the video and zooming in to clearly show the contents of the room. You may hate to hear yourself on video but just remember that if all goes well, you’ll never have to watch it and if something goes very wrong, you’ll be glad to have the extra details. 

Store it off-site. 
An inventory that is destroyed in a house fire won’t help replace the items in your home. Find a physical location such as a safe deposit box or with a close friend or family member or use online storage to make those files available should you need them.

Disasters happen. It’s a fact. While we can’t predict the time or place, we can prepare so that our businesses and families are protected. The appropriate amount of insurance coverage is critical. However, even with appropriate coverage, businesses and families should document their belongings and assets at least annually. Imagine the difficulty of accurately remembering all you may lose in a disaster without any documentation.

It’s easier than you think. If disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you did.