Austin recently ranked 2nd as the Safest Major City. Our police chief was quoted saying "There is still work to be done, but there are things you can do at home to help with the rising property crime rate. He says residents can install solid dead bolts on doors, take time to write down serial numbers of electronics, take pictures of jewelry and be a nosy neighbor."
If you went to work, and came home and saw your house had been robbed, would you be able to remember everything inside? If it does happen, your best friend is going to be a home inventory (and maybe the insurance adjuster). When you file your claim and meet with with the insurance adjuster, having a well documented, or just a documented, inventory will make your life and that adjusters life much easier. So I agree with our police chief, take the time to conduct a home inventory.
As far as storing this data, I think the best place is online at Know Your Stuff (www.KnowYourStuff.org). It's an online home inventory resource. If a loss occurs, it will always be accessible from any computer as long as you have your user name and password. If you forget your password, they have ways to recover it. The best part about this website is, it's FREE. I personally have used this website and found it very easy to use.
Another option is to video your home room by room and narrate everything you have, including serial numbers and values. Make sure you have appraisal done for high value items. If you're going to upload to a website (YouTube, Flickr, etc.), make sure you change the setting from "Public" to "Private".
If these options don't work, you should find one that does. The important thing is to get the home inventory done and don't put it off. If you have questions, I am happy to help.
- Jason Matison
Austin Homeowners Insurance Agent