Plan ahead: Document your items now to be ready if a hurricane hits

Posted August 1, 2017 4:04 p.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2018 2:52 p.m. EDT

— It's always a good idea to have an accurate inventory of the items in your home for insurance reasons, and before a hurricane system is the time to make it a priority.

Hurricanes, tornados, fire and other disasters can result in thousands of dollars of damage and loss. Following the shock, you would have to pull together an accurate list of your belongings and navigate claiming insurance.

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

“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.”

Stanger said to video nearly everything, even what's in your bookcase. Capture brand names and serial numbers, so your insurer can replace what you had with exact or similar items. Open closets, cabinets and drawers and describe what you see as you record.

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.

Several insurers offer customers free, web-based tools to guide you through the inventory process.