INDIANAPOLIS -- If there was a fire at your house or if your home was burglarized, could you remember everything that was lost? Most people can't.
According to AAA, more than half of Americans don't have an inventory of the possessions they would need to have their insurance company replace in case of a fire, theft, or other disaster.
"In the aftermath of a fire or other damage to property, it's like that many of us would be emotionally drained and the last thing we would want to do it make a list of everything we lost," said Greg Seiter, public affairs manager for AAA Hoosier Motor Club. "Preparing in advance for an unexpected disaster could mean a faster return to normal life, and a little less stress along the way, including a more speedy claims process."
Instead of waiting for a disaster, It's easy to do a quick home inventory now.
First, grab your camera or smartphone and take a tour of your home.
Make sure to record or take pictures of everything you'd want your insurance company to replace. Get pictures of expensive electronics or other items with a high value. Don't forget to record items in your garage and closets.
After you're done, take a video or picture tour of your home, pull together copies of sales receipts and any other documentation. Make sure to write down model and serial numbers of electronics. You can usually find the serial numbers on the back or bottom of the device.
After you have all the pictures, video, and documents, store your home inventory in a safe and easily accessible place. With your friends or family or in a safety deposit box are good choices. You can even email yourself a copy and save it in your inbox. AAA says don't rely solely on your home computer, which should always be backed up, in case of a fire or a hard drive crash.
While you're creating the inventory, add up the replacement costs for all of those items and look at your insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage. AAA says to double check because not all policies cover the actual replacement costs. In some cases, an additional endorsement may be needed for valuables like jewelry, cameras, furs, firearms, trading cards and comics, or other items.
"Creating a simple home inventory helps you track what you own and what it's worth," said Seiter. "It can be invaluable in deciding how much insurance coverage you need, to say nothing of ensuring your are adequately protected if you ever need to file a claim."