The media is constantly reporting the effects catastrophic events including fire, tornado, hurricane, tsunami or most commonly theft and burglary. We do not think to expect that such disaster may befall us. However, in the wake of such an episode in our own lives, it behooves us to be prepared.
The police department of my city has provided residents with a free software for inventory of personal property. They believe that a resident inventory helps to fight crime in our city. They are partnering with insurance companies to make the program available to us. They recommend the inventory program called “Know Your Stuff” available online from The Insurance Information Institute. Find them at appspot.com or search Insurance Information Institute.
Three reasons to take stock of our household property need to be considered.
- Keeping an up to date inventory of what we own and reporting it helps law enforcement fight crime.
- Reporting loss of personal property to insurance companies when accompanied by an inventory, helps you get a fair settlement for your claim.
- The inventory you make helps you to determine the amount for which your household goods should be insured
- Klosing what you have worked hard to acquire for your family can happen in a matter of as few as three minutes. When you have inventoried your possessions, you have a very good chance of getting back any stolen or looted items. In my small Texas city last year police reports show that of the 21,602 pieces of stolen property they recovered, 15,000 never found their way back home.
When stolen property is recovered and residents have identifying serial numbers recorded, the property can be returned to its rightful owners. How to safeguard your stuff is not as difficult as it may seem. The Insurance Information Institute has developed free software. The program guides you through the inventory process and allows you to save photographs, as well descriptions and serial numbers.
The secure online storage built into the software allows you to retain your records. All you have to do, once you have established your inventory, is to be sure to keep it updated as you make new household or business purchases. In my neck of the woods there are police volunteers who help people navigate and utilize the inventory software.
Several years ago our home was burglarized. Police took fingerprints, filed the report and that was the end of it. We never recovered our stuff. Besides that, we had to have professional carpet cleaners restore our carpets to a reasonable condition. Muddy footprints were everywhere. We were lucky that the thieves were not looking for personal identifying information. They would have had a heyday.
Today, we have learned how to protect ourselves from mail theft. We are aware of the high incidence of identity theft. We have a steel locking mailbox, a locked safe, a document shredder and never throw any personal information in the trash for dumpster divers to pilfer. It is the responsibility of each household and business to invest a little time and care into keeping track of property. Law enforcement and insurance companies cannot do it all. Fight crime. Recover your stolen property.