It is so important to have an inventory of your personal property. People who don’t have a lot of fine art, collectables or expensive, high-end electronics often think they don’t have enough to warrant an inventory. You’ll see it’s well worth your time or money to have this information available in case you have a fire, theft, or natural disaster.

First, why do you have insurance? Because if you have a loss, your insurance company will give you the money to recover. Therefore, since you have insurance, you must value what you own and would like to get reimbursed for it.

If that time comes when you need to file a claim, you will need to complete a list of everything you lost, what you paid for it and when you bought it. Could you do that, even if you ‘don’t have much’? Answer these questions right now: how many CDs and DVDs do you have? How many items of clothing? How many pair of shoes?

Here’s a task for you - take the time to count them right now, and write down the number of each. Count how many pair of shoes you have and how many clothes are hanging just in one closet. Then count the CDs throughout the house or apartment. Most likely you will have underestimated how much you have. If you don’t ask for the right amount, you won’t get it!

One of our customers thought he had around 300 CDs. After counting them, we found he had 527! That’s an underestimation of 227. Take that times $13, and he would have not listed about $3000 worth of CDs! A college student reported a theft of just 30 CDs. He was asked to list them by title. He couldn’t remember all of them. Both of these situations show how important it is to have an inventory – even if you don’t think you have enough to bother.

What if you forget about a leather jacket? That’s usually at least a $300 item. Let’s say you filed a claim in July. It took you quite a while to settle with the insurance company (it normally takes 4 to 12 months to complete the claim if you don’t have an inventory). You kept remembering more and more items, so the claim remained open until your year deadline approached. So now it’s July of the following year, and you receive your insurance check. You purchase what you need (or more likely pay off the credit card you used to buy what you needed during this year). A few months later, the weather starts to get cold and you open your closet for your leather jacket and…you don’t have one! That’s one of the items you forgot to claim.

The settlement money is gone, the claim is closed, and you realize you’ll never recover that $300. This scenario can be played over and over for most items in a house, apartment or business. Of course you’ll remember the sofa, bed, dressers, etc. But what about the clothing, linens, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, jewelry? The list can go on and on. Another customer of ours has over 200 ties, and his average cost per tie is $40!

Now do you think you don’t have enough to bother with an inventory? Document your belongings or hire an inventory service provider. The investment in time or money is well worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Hartman is President of Hartman Inventory LLC, a woman-owned business that provides business and home inventory services. She and her husband Mike also own Hartman Inventory Systems LLC, a company that provides a complete turnkey business package for those who want to establish their own inventory company.