Friday, February 26, 2010

"Lights, Camera, Claim Settled!"

The aftermath of a fire or natural disaster is not the time you want to be trying to remember all the treasures and possessions you have accumulated over a lifetime. Now is the time you should be preparing for the possibility of a catastrophic property loss and a Home Inventory is the best place to start.

I know what your going to say, the thought of going through your whole house, cataloging each and every item does seem daunting, but there is perhaps an easier way - Video. Today's video cameras are so much more compact and versatile than even the models from just a few years ago. The ability to store the data digitally on discs or portable hard drives give you the flexibility to make multiple copies for safe keeping at a relatively small cost.

When doing the video inventory of your home make sure you do the following:

  1. Go through every room in your home. Do no forget the garage, attic and basement.
  2. As you pass items of significant value or personal significance, provide a verbal description including there value and date purchase if possible.
  3. Make sure you show the labels for appliance and electronics, and be sure you can read the serial and model numbers on the video.
  4. Be sure to included carpeting, artwork, toys, furniture, jewelry, guns, etc.
  5. Open closets, cabinets and drawers so as to get coverage of the contents inside.
  6. Go back through the video and make a written inventory to go with the video.
  7. Store the video and inventory in a safe deposit box and send a copy to someone you trust.
  8. REMEMBER TO UPDATE THE VIDEO AT LEAST ANNUALLY. Just add the new stuff, don't shoot the whole thing all over again.

In addition to the video you should not forget important documents. These you should photo copy; keeping the copy in your home and the originals in the same safe deposit box as the video. Some documents to consider would be:

  • Personal - Birth certificates, will, passports, medical files, drivers license.
  • Financial - Bank account info, stocks, financial instruments, life insurance policies, credit cards, tax returns
  • Home - Title, deed, abstract, insurance policy, exterior photos, loan paperwork.

Any documents you have that will be difficult if not impossible to replace should be copied and stored securely off premises.

A little time spent now can save you a whole lot of anguish later and get you that much faster to a claim resolution. Now when the insurance claims adjuster says we will need an inventory, you can hand them the video with written summary. So what are you waiting for....LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!

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