After filling your apartment with thousands of dollars worth of the latest, greatest and shiniest home tech that the world has to offer, you've done the right thing and gotten renters insurance to cover yourself in an emergency. You may think you're ahead of the game and that your work is done. But if you really love your stuff, take the time to make a "home" inventory and ensure that you're really prepared for an emergency.
It seems simple: You just make a list of your stuff, right? Well, yes. But there's a method to creating and storing a home inventory that will make sure you're not left in the dust.
- Write down a list of all of your expensive devices—the kinds of things you'd want replaced if they were lost. Include the brand, year (if applicable), model numbers and serial numbers.
- Make sure to take pictures of each of these things safe and sound in your home. Take close-up pictures of any identifying marks or serial numbers in the event of a robbery. If you've got a video camera, shooting a room-by-room walk-through is a good idea.
- Make sure you store your home inventory outside of your place. If you don't, you're taking chances that the inventory itself is damaged in the same emergency as your stuff. Keep a paper copy at your office or a family member's house. Or take the hi-tech route and store it online. You can use free home inventory services like KnowYourStuff.org or StuffSafe.com. But if you want to load your list to Evernote or store your pics on Flickr—or even just email it to your own Gmail account—you'll be safe knowing you've got this important insurance infor right where you want it.
- Of course, your home inventory is only as good as you keep it up. Make sure every new purchase gets logged, photographed and updated to your inventory. If you're really good, you'll scan the receipts.