Preparing before disaster strikes: Inventory your belongings

We rarely consider losing everything in a disaster until a catastrophe happens to us. Having insurance to cover the damage should put our minds at ease, but when the time comes to file a claim, you may be disheartened by the process and proposed settlement. Getting proper compensation for your personal belongings can be a difficult task. And when an insurance company tells you some damage was pre-existing; it can be downright insulting.

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Avoiding some of the hassle can be as easy as creating an inventory of your belongings. Below you’ll find some helpful tips to get started.  

1) Capture evidence of it all 

A picture is worth a thousand words and will aid you when it comes time to report your loss. It’s best to take both photos and video of your property and belongings. And be sure to store in a cloud service like Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud.

2) Video is thorough, quick and easy 

Grab your digital device, walk around the inside and outside of your home or business, and video record every room. Yes, even capture your bathrooms and closets. This will help identify that no preexisting damage was present to the home or business before the disaster. It’ll also spotlight larger items like sofas, beds, desks, chairs and lighting. And make sure to capture imagery of each side of the roof. If you have a drone, that is great, but there’s absolutely no need to climb up on the roof.

3) Don’t forget the small stuff 

For smaller and not easily visible items, be sure to take everything out to photograph it. Such items include jewelry, clothing, dishes, electronics and cookware.

4) Create a cataloguing system 

Once you’ve photographed all of your property and items, it’s important to list everything in a central location, like an Excel document. Label the document appropriately, email it to yourself and save the list to a cloud service. Valuable items that you know the worth and year purchased are also great for inclusion in the list.

5) An annual review is best

Each year we acquire new belongings and make changes to our home or business, so be sure to do the above steps annually. Once you have a system in place it makes the process that much easier. The most up-to-date inventory and evidence will be the most helpful when submitting an insurance claim. 

6) Give yourself a pat on the back! 

Most people don’t ever invest their time in this process, so take the time to applaud yourself for doing the work. Once you do, you’ll have a far better sense of security, feel well prepared for the future and have an accurate inventory of your valuables.

Our team of attorneys have decades of experience working with insurance companies. If your property has been damaged, schedule an appointment today by calling us at 239-791-7950. We want to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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