Inventory Before Disaster Strikes
Life is unpredictable. And so are natural disasters and good old human error.
One moment, you could be watching a game on your couch and the next, a tornado could simply tear off the roof over your head.
Disasters, whether man-made or natural, could be very devastating financially and psychologically when you are unprepared. While we can’t always foresee events before they happen, we can very well prepare for them.
This is why we have insurance and restoration companies. But having these two may not get you what you deserve if you can’t identify and put a value on your property. This is why it is important to create a home inventory for the ‘rainy’ day.
You can start by:
1. Choosing the easiest spot. A contained space like a bedroom, study, or library is a very good place to start.
2. Making a list of recent purchases, especially expensive ones.
3. Listing the basic information about important items. Remember to:
- describe the items
- include where they were bought
- write down the make and model
- include what was paid for them.
- add any other information that can help you make a claim
4. Listing by category. If you are making an inventory for your home, it may be better to write down items by category. “12 pairs of shoes”, “2 wristwatches”, etc.
5. Noting serial numbers. Usually electronics like TVs and refrigerators will have serial numbers that can be used to get the exact model of the appliance you have in the event of damage.
6. Double-checking if you have coverage for items like jewelry, art, and collectibles. It is very helpful to know what kind of coverage you have for these items and how to keep them safe in the event of a disaster.
7. Keeping proof of the value of your inventory. These are best stored in waterproof folders and if possible, in fireproof safes. Be sure to include:
8. Doing it one step at a time. It would be difficult to start your inventory and finish on the same day. It may be best to do a room each day
9. Leveraging technology. It is often easier to create a photo or video record of your belongings. Take photos of the item and it’s receipts, make and model, and whatever information is necessary in getting reimbursement for them and label the photos.
There are also many mobile apps out there to help you do this. Always ensure that you backup all of your recordings and photos online so you can have access to them wherever and whenever you want. You may never know when you will need them.
10. Updating inventory from time to time. Fortune favors the prepared. If you make it a habit of updating this inventory, then you are putting yourself in a good position in the event of a disaster.
Usually, a restoration company will be sent in after a disaster by your insurance company to evaluate the work and equipment needed to return your home or office to its previous state. This inventory that you have created can be very helpful for the company reps to know what needs to be restored and where, saving a great deal of cost and negotiation headaches.