Imagine trying to recall every item you had in your home and creating an inventory without photos, receipts, or any documentation. After a disaster, one of the most daunting tasks for a resident can be creating the inventory, required by the insurance adjuster, of all personal belongings that were damaged or destroyed in order to be compensated for items that were lost.
The Personal Property Memory Jogger is a pre-populated Excel spreadsheet with over 6,100 household items, broken down into a room-by-room format. Once downloaded, you have the option to delete items that may not apply to you and/or add items that may not appear in the list. For people who have lost everything and can’t remember what they had prior to a disaster, the Memory Jogger is a real asset.
Use the Personal Property “Memory Jogger” as Disaster Preparedness Tool
When used as a disaster preparedness tool, the Memory Jogger helps you compile an inventory of what you own so you can determine replacement values and the amount of insurance you would need if everything you own was lost.
Tips for Creating Your Inventory:
- Provide as much detail as possible and include as many items as you can. All your personal property, regardless of how small the item, has a value so don’t throw anything away until it has been documented and your adjuster has authorized you to do so.
- Make your inventory list room by room and take your time. For proper reimbursement, your list should include everything from furniture and appliances, to the stamps in your “junk drawer”. Use the Inventory list provided to help you think about each room, closet and drawer and remind you of items you may have had in each room prior to the disaster.
- Use a tool like Floor Planner at www.floorplanner.com, to create a floor plan of your home. This will help you remember what was in each room as you re-create your home structure.
- If possible, take pictures or video tape inside each room before you begin your inventory so you have documentation of the quality, size, and appearance of your items. Don’t forget to include the inside of cabinets, closets, and drawers.
- Use a tape recorder to dictate your inventory. This allows you to replay the recording and work off-site.
- When completing your list, include item replacement values plus applicable state sales tax, storage fees, and delivery charges. It’s a good idea to supplement your completed inventory with digital photos on a CD, or printed photographs.
- As part of the recovery process, your insurance company requires a highly detailed list of all personal items lost. Your insurance company may provide an optional format for inventory, so check with your adjuster on exactly what details they require.
- Be sure to submit the cost of the Memory Jogger to your insurance company for reimbursement. They may cover the cost as a claim related expense.
- Keep track of the time you spend compiling your inventory list and researching pricing. Your insurance company may reimburse you for the time you and/or others spend working on your inventory.
“Last June, my daughter, her husband, and their little girl – age 4-1/2 then – had a major fire that devastated their whole condo and seriously damaged the 3 adjoining condos. It was caused by a defective lithium battery…they were never notified about the recall. The fire occurred early morning hours and luckily, my daughter…a light sleeper…heard something and got everyone, including the neighbors, up and out just in time!
The insurance people insisted on an itemized list. It was painful enough, without having to name everything they lost…which was nearly everything. We all checked online for suggestions about how to tackle the awful task. There were suggested lists, which offered no more than the obvious, and no helpful format. Then I found your Personal Property Memory Jogger…which is fantastic! They were so relieved to see it and, of course, it turned out to be a great help. They put in the time and effort and it paid off: they got their full coverage, although it didn’t cover enough. The good side is the kindness and consideration of friends and especially the community.
We can’t thank you enough, and at least want to make this contribution which I will get into the mail right away.
Your website offers so much. You really should say something about contributions somewhere. Great work you’re doing…….thank you all!” E.L.
“Thanks for the amazing document. Fortunately, I have not personally had to use it, but it is a wonderful tool for our fire clients that have to remember everything they lost after a fire that is now destroyed. Somebody did an excellent job of collecting all of this data.” Charlotte Simpson – Coordinator, Disaster Volunteers – North Alabama District
“My father recently suffered the total loss of his garage, used for maintaining his heavy equipment and as a base of operations for his construction business. The property was not insured, and for the past week I have been desperately searching for resources to help him get back up after such a hit. Yesterday I happened upon your site. Thank you for making the memory jogger freely available, that is such a tremendous help!” Chris – Ontario, Canada
“The Personal Property Inventory would have been a God-send in 1988 and 2007! My friends and family would not have wasted weeks trying to recall the contents of a 2,600 square foot home with sports equipment, clothing, toys, home furnishings and decor from 3 children and 2 adults.” Anita L. Duff – San Diego, CA