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by Center for Personal Finance editors


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Don't add your name to the tens of thousands of people who—after a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other disaster destroyed everything they own—said, "I wish I'd made a list of personal belongings and kept it in a safe place."

Here's a quick and easy way to get started. Do this now, before it's too late. Visit knowyourstuff.org and click the link to download the latest version of free home inventory software, developed by the Insurance Information Institute. The software walks you through the steps to inventory your possessions and includes tips about how to keep it updated. Store it in a safe place. The latest version of the software offers an optional service known as Vault 24, allowing you to keep your inventory list online. A basic account costs about $15 a year.

Having an up-to-date personal property inventory helps speed up the claims process if you experience a loss. And at the very least, it helps you determine how much insurance you need to protect your possessions.

Published July 30, 2008

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