MADISON, Wisconsin (January 23, 2015) – While no one wants to dwell on the negative, disasters such as fires, floods, tornadoes and other severe storms do occur in Wisconsin. Your best defense is to be well prepared. A key step you can take toward being prepared is creating a home inventory, which will help you get reimbursement from your insurance company for any lost possessions.
“When you don’t have a home inventory and try to reconstruct what you owned, it can be quite a challenge,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). “It’s very possible to overlook or forget things, so you may get less of a settlement than you would if you had an up-to-date inventory.”
Creating an inventory used to be a challenge, but now, there’s an app for that. These apps are easy to use and often backup to the cloud, so you can access them when needed. While most of the programs listed are free, some do have a cost and that is noted.
Here are a few options for your review:
- · Know Your Stuff Home Inventory - This home inventory app from the Insurance Information Institute backs up your data to the cloud, for ensured access if disaster strikes. The program is available for desktop, but also has an app for iPhone® and Android phones. Using the app, you can modify or add to your online inventory—and easily add photos directly from your phone. The program and app are free: www.knowyourstuff.org.
- · MyStuff2 Lite - Keep track of everything from your electronics and appliances to your jewelry and movie collections. Barcode scanning and Amazon integration is included. This is only available for iPhone® and the free version limits you to 15 items. For $8.99, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which has no item limit. It is available on iTunes®.
- · NM Home Inventory – This software captures key information including photos, description and receipts. It can be used in conjunction with a desktop version, as well. This is for Android phones and it is free. Find it in the app store.
- · Encircle - A home inventory tool that allows homeowners, landlords and property managers to efficiently inventory all of their properties. It is easy to update and manage inventory using a smartphone, tablet or the web. This application is free and can be found online: encircleapp.com and in the app stores.
“Another good tip is to check with your local, independent, professional insurance agent before you start your inventory. Your agent can tell you whether your insurance company has any specific reimbursement requirements and whether they offer an app that you can use,” noted Von Haden.
“Your agent can also advise you about expensive or rare items such as your grandmother’s diamond engagement ring, pricey electronics, a piece of artwork or collectible that may exceed the limits of standard homeowners or renters insurance. To ensure this property is protected, you may need extra insurance coverage, called a rider, that covers the true replacement value of these items,” he explained.
To locate a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or go to www.PIAW.org.