Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Protect Yourself. Inventory Your Things.

Recently a close friend of mine had his house broken had some valuables stolen, including firearms. Luckily all of the items were stolen were inventoried, so when the police arrived he handed him printed pages of the goods including photos, serial numbers, purchase price and replacement value. He said the police were very pleased at the detail of information, because it will give them a better chance of having the items returned. He was using the same inventory software as I use, for that dreaded break-in, severe weather event or fire. That software is free, and it’s called What You Own Home Inventory, from M-One Studio. The most current version is 4.11 and it is available from or from CNET, who gives it a great review.

When I first started using the software, it was from one of the larger insurance companies, and I spoke to one of their reps. They told me that too many people try to make claims for stolen or ruined valuables, but they offer no proof those things ever existed. After using the software, I found it extremely intuitive and useful. Some tips as you start to inventory your items: Do it in a logical order. I opted to inventory my most valuable items first, which made good sense. After those were done, I went room by room and did other valuables. Lastly (and ongoing) I use it to keep track of account numbers and log-in information. Many of us nowadays have multiple account numbers for our banks or shopping online, it’s hard to keep track of all of them. What You Own Home Inventory does a great job with this. Finally, when your done – save a copy to your hard drive and burn a copy to disc. I keep mine in the safe, with the intention of giving a copy to a family member in case all my things go up in smoke.

CNET had this to say about it, and I agree… CNET Editors' Review: We review a lot of programs, and it's not often that we find one that really blows us away. What You Own Home Inventory is one of those rare programs, the cream of the crop that's available on Download.com. The fact that this powerful home inventory program is free is a very pleasant surprise. The program's interface is fantastic, with a sleek, intuitive design. Users enter the rooms in their home and then the contents of each room, listing the purchase price, replacement price, and other relevant details…

Do it today, before it’s too late.

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