Whether you live in a house, condo, or apartment, it is a great idea to document everything you own in the event of a total loss. If you returned home from work one day, only to find your home completely destroyed by a fire, would you be able to write down everything you own to be replaced by the insurance company? I know I wouldn’t be able to.
An easy way to be prepared for something like this, or even a theft/break-in, is to take pictures of your belongings. The great thing about digital cameras is you can take 100s of pictures and store them easily on a flash drive or CD/DVD, and keep them at a relative’s house or in a safe deposit box at the bank. Some cameras can take video – this is great too.
If you have the video option, go through each room in your home, covering all of the walls, closets, drawers, etc. As you walk through, you can talk into the microphone with estimated values for your belongings. I know it is difficult to put a price tag on that fraternity Barn Dance t-shirt from your college days, but if you are at least able to get quantities of your clothing, it will help.
Here are some other tips to be prepared for a fire, theft, or other covered loss:
- If you don’t have a digital camera, create a dated journal of all of your belongings. Keep it in a different location, like a safe deposit box. They are pretty cheap.
- Keep receipts for big-ticket items, like that 46″ LCD TV, new computer, or a jewelry purchase
- If your home is uninhabitable and you need to stay somewhere else like a hotel, keep your receipts. Your policy will likely cover “Loss of Use” for you to live somewhere else. Even if you rent an apartment or condo, your landlord’s insurance won’t pay for this. Check your policy to see how much is covered.
We’ve all said “it won’t happen to me.” This past Easter, just a few days ago, a fire destroyed an entire apartment building a mile away from me in Downers Grove. My heart goes out to all of the residents that are going through this difficult time of losing everything. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. After hearing about it and counting my blessings, I felt good that I have my condo and my belongings covered.