Use Your Camera (or Phone Camera) to Shoot an Insurance Inventory.
There’s never been a better time to finally tackle a tricky task you’ve been putting off since, well, forever.
If you’re like most people, the thought of photo-documenting all of your earthly possessions for insurance purposes sounds like a great idea but it’s one you’ve probably spent a lifetime procrastinating about. Well, now that you’re spending way more time at home, this is the perfect opportunity to get started on this very important project. In the event of loss, a home insurance inventory photo collection is an excellent way to track items and prove you own them. Here are some tips on how to do it right.
It sounds daunting, but the best place to start is by making a list of everything you own, broken down according to the room or area of the house in which they typically reside. It’ll be your road map for shooting.
Whether you use a videocam or a digital camera, don’t forget that you’re shooting indoors and that each shot should be properly lit. If you’re using a flash, aim it away from windows and mirrors, so that your images aren’t spoiled by stray light. Same goes for jewellery that’s prone to glare. Consider placing them on top of a black background as well – a piece of dark cloth or paper will do – for better contrast. You can use this technique for silverware and other similar items, too.
Document everything, not just your luxury items. Your daily household appliances and the tools you store in your garage or basement would cost a lot to replace, too. These can be shot individually, in groups or in roomfuls at a time, and place a card beside each item noting its price and date of purchase. If you’re videotaping this stuff, you could also give a running commentary describing each object while you shoot it. Open your closet doors and dresser drawers to capture everything inside them. Try to arrange items within drawers in such a way that it reveals their entire contents.
Be sure to include the camera equipment you used to document your inventory, and when you’re done shooting, make several copies of the storage files. Store at least one card off-site – in a safety deposit box, for instance – so you still have a permanent record in the event of a fire. Alternatively, use an online file storage service like DropBox or Google Drive. Review your inventory annually and don’t forget to update it whenever you make a major new purchase. Knowing the full value of your home’s contents not only provides peace of mind but also helps put into perspective the amount of insurance you’ll need to buy to protect it.
Also published on Medium.