Inventories
Making a complete record of your possessions, room-by-room, can save you great heartache in the event of a disaster.

Before disaster strikes

None of us like to think that we could be made homeless by a major disaster such as a fire, flood or cyclone. Yet these events do happen, and sometimes with a terrible loss of life and property.

At the very least, the one thing we can do in preparation for such an event is to know exactly what we have lost.  The best and simplest way to do this is to take the time beforehand to make a home inventory.

A home inventory is a simply a list of the contents of your home and it can save you the added stress of having to remember all the possessions you've accumulated over the years. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster and get you back on the road to recovery.

Inventories








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Written inventory

All you need to do is walk through every room in your house and write down what it contains. Pay particular attention to noting the following:
  • the room in which it was located;
  • a good description of the item;
  • serial numbers if applicable;
  • where and when you purchased it;
  • the price paid; and
  • any other important information.
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Photographic inventory

Another way of compiling an inventory is to walk around the house with a camera photographing all of the rooms and the items within them. Overall shots of rooms will help you quickly remember the major items. Don't forget to include shots of what is in draws and cupboards.

If you use a digital camera the exercise is quick and cheap and allows for safe and ready storage. Another option is to use a video camera, but don't forget to take your time and get each item in as much detail as possible.

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Appraisals

While the photographic record is important, you should also seek to get an independent appraisal of your most valuable items. Always use a certified appraiser and if in doubt ask your insurance company for a referral.

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Secure storage

Once you have compiled all this valuable information, the whole exercise will have been of little benefit if disaster does strike and your inventory is lost along with everything else.

So find a safe off-site storage area. Leave it with a relative or close friend or probably best of all, in a safe deposit box. It's one of things you hope you'll never have to call upon but if you do, you'll thank yourself for this little piece of foresight.

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