Editor’s note: I have helped two different friends try to inventory and salvage belongings after house fires. It is messy, smelly, tedious work that goes along with the heartbreak of losing possessions that can never be replaced. But the reality is that having a good inventory of your personal belongings can go a long way in helping ease the pain of the loss and getting your life back to normal more quickly. This is the fifth in a series of five articles about inventory for your equine business. You can find the previous articles by going to Articles>Stable Management in the top toolbar.
From a business standpoint, you know the importance of keeping track of the “assets” your equine business owns. Whether it’s for tax, insurance, depreciation or business valuation purposes, you must maintain an updated listing of your stable’s possessions.
But what about your personal possessions?
Tragedy can strike at any time. Whether it’s a natural disaster or theft, insurance companies need to know the value of your belongings to determine the replacement value of lost items.
A 2012 survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reported that more than half of Americans didn’t have a home inventory of their possessions. This puts homeowners at a risk for receiving inadequate coverage when a catastrophe occurs.
- Create a listing of the contents within your home. Include valuables such as jewelry and electronics and even the seemingly mundane contents of your “junk drawers.” The New York State Department of Finances provides a template for that anyone can use to get started. To download the PDF, visit http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/homeown/home_invchklst.pdf.
- Categorize items and note anything that is of particular value. For example, group clothing by pants, tops and formal wear. For electronics or appliances use the manufacturer’s serial number.
- Visually record your possessions. Use your phone or a camera to take photographs and/or videos of everything in your home.
Once you’ve taken stock of what you own, make plans to store the list (including electronic backups) offsite. Rent a safe deposit box or ask a family member or friend to save a copy for you. This reduces the chance of your list disappearing if your home is damaged.
Taking a personal inventory isn’t a one-time deal. It’s something that should be updated regularly. You can choose to update the record every time you purchase something new or opt for reviewing and updating the list periodically throughout the year, or at least annually.