What's the Deal: Putting together your home's inventory

Losing your home to a natural disaster or fire may not be something you think about often, but it happens to people every day. That's why it's important to protect your assets, the right way, before a potential catastrophe occurs.

While acts of nature like hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes make the news, it doesn't take a natural disaster to lose everything.

"I'm a fire restoration contractor and I go to on average 5 to 7 losses every day. And every single time I go to them, every single time, they say to me, man, I didn't ever think this could ever possibly happen to me. I just cannot believe this happened," said Rich Connette who is a property loss consultant.

Of course, that's why we have insurance.

But according to Connette, virtually zero homeowners are prepared to make their insurance company pay.

"I've yet to meet one in 17 years that knew exactly everything that they owned. The insurance company wants you to write down everything down to the sock. If you don't remember it, the insurance companies, they like that because that's just less money that they have to pay out," said Connette.

If something happened tomorrow could you remember everything you had down to the last sock? Everything you forget is money you lose and your insurance company wins.

So here's the most important thing you can do today: create a home inventory. One way is to download free software specifically designed for the purpose. Another is to videotape your possessions while dictating the price you paid and date you bought them. If nothing else, at least take pictures of your stuff, all of it. Then store it on the web, in a safe deposit box or at a friend's house.

Bottom line? You can do something really simple today that could save you a ton of stress and maybe money someday.

One more tip, don't forget to safeguard important paperwork. Replacing records, financial, and legal documents or identification can be a major hassle so take steps to store those items, or copies of them, in a safe place, like a fireproof safe.
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