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Home Inventories Before and After a Disaster

Ask anyone who has suffered the unfortunate experience of a home fire, plumbing incident, natural disaster, or even a robbery - the last time you want to be creating a home inventory list is after your valuables have been damaged or gone missing. Your emotions are haywire. Your mind is not tracking. Details from small to large are simply going to fall through the cracks – alongside the funds in your insurance reimbursement check. At Rainbow International®, we hope you never undergo the experience of these types of losses. Unfortunately, as we don’t have a choice in falling victim to these situations, lightening your load by taking a home inventory in advance is highly recommended.  

Sobering statistics

According to a 2012 survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of U.S. residents don't have a home inventory of their possessions, increasing their risk for inadequate insurance reimbursement. Of those who’ve taken inventories, 48% don’t have receipts, 27% lack photos, and 28% no backup copy of their inventory outside the home. Additionally, 59% of Americans have not updated their inventories in a year or more – meaning there’s no proof of purchase for insurance reimbursement for these newly added items or gifts.

There are many successful ways to take a home inventory…

The best tool for the job is the one you’ll actually use – and keep track of. Try not to be overwhelmed by the process, just treat it systematically, choosing a room or portion of your home to begin, and being as thorough as possible. A brief or incomplete inventory is better than none at all. When complete, be sure to store a copy off-site at a friend or relatives, at work, or online, updating with each significant purchase, and preferably annually. Common methods for performing a home inventory include:

  • Spreadsheet
    Use your computer’s spreadsheet program to create your own or take advantage of personal finance software, which typically includes room-by-room inventory features.
  • Photos
    Photograph each room in a systematic manner, with independent photos of important items. You will also need matching records of item makes, purchase dates, model/serial numbers, and costs.
  • Video
    Similar to photo, however video lets you also create a built-in audio file containing pertinent information as you describe your home’s contents during filming.
  • Apps
    Forbes top recommended home inventory apps for Android of iOS mobile devices include:
    • Inventory for Homeowners
      A picture-driven app for storing photos, purchase date, price, model and serial numbers details for home inventory.
    • DreamVault
      An American Family Insurance app with sort/export features allowing you to upload photos and item details with a handy speech-to-text feature.
    • Home Gallery
      This free app by Liberty Mutual with exporting capabilities tracks purchase date, price, model number and item location in your home.
    • The Home Inventory
      Inventory using barcodes with a built-in scanner, alongside photo/detail storage.

Taking a home inventory isn’t hard – but it can be time consuming

 The good news is, putting forth a little effort now will save you time - and better set you up for adequate insurance reimbursement for the replacement of lost belongings later. Should you ever suffer the unfortunate event of a loss for any reason, know the caring professionals at Rainbow International® are here for you in this time of need, offering professional, off-site restoration services to aid you in your salvage efforts. Take a load off with our careful service and the latest in processes and restoration equipment for fire, smoke, water, mold damage, and more. Rest easier with the help of a company who cares. Contact Rainbow International today.