Consumer Reports: Video Taping Valuables for Insurance Purposes

If you ever fall victim to a flood, fire or tornado, your insurance company will need some sort of proof of the items you may have lost. Barry Levy has today's Consumer Report with a simple way to inventory your belongings so you can get them replaced.

Used to be that some people didn't inventory their home because not everyone had a video camera...well, those days are over...seems like everyone has a video camera on your, lets take a look at why you need to do get that inventory done sooner rather than later.

When a raging fire ripped thru this apartment complex back in December, homeowner Mariela Dabbah found it painful to watch.

“The Red Cross came that night, to find out that we were all okay, you know, that we had a place to stay,” Mariela Dabba.

Once the smoke cleared, Mariela felt grateful to be safe –– but not at all prepared to untangle the insurance mess which followed. 

“... I had no receipts or no list of things that I owned.” 

Financial Experts at Consumer Reports say one of the best ways to document your belongings for insurance purposes, is with a video.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can even use the camera on your phone,” Tobie Stanger/Consumer Reports. 

Try to capture everything you own. Opening closets, cabinets and drawers, describing what you see as you record…

“Fitz and Floyd, Monmartre,  12 piece setting…”
Be sure to include what’s in your bookcase…
“Hellen Frank print…”
… art that’s hanging on the walls, and major appliances.
“Samsung, stainless steel refrigerator…”
And, capture brand names and serial numbers, so your insurer can replace what you had with exact - or similar items.

“Focus on what’s valuable. You can skip the cleaning supplies in a closet, for instance. An insurance adjuster is likely to create a ‘bulk estimate’ for those things anyway.”

Then, put the video onto a thumb drive and upload it into the cloud –– or stash it in a safe place, so it’s there when you need it.
Consumer Reports says several insurers also offer customers free, web-based tools to guide you thru the inventory process.

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