Home inventories: There’s an app for that!

Tech reviewer Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times recently ran a roundup of apps for home inventories, along with his commentary of the pros and the cons for each system. Manjoo comes from a perspective of organizing and managing possessions, and inventorying as a potential first step in simplifying your life. For those of us in the insurance world, there’s another practical purpose to home inventories that can be summed up in two words: Risk management. Should you suffer theft, fire or some other type of loss, having a record of your valuables will help you – whether you need to file a claim, apply for disaster relief, or document losses for tax purposes.
Manjoo reviews several apps for both mobile phones and PCs, with options running from $4.99 to $50. Some have useful features, such as warranty trackers and the ability to upload and annotate photos from your phone. But most require a fair amount of work entering the details manually. One Mac program that he found has bar code scanning ability which simplifies the process, at least for your new possessions.
Whatever system you use, it’s important to keep things current, as James Lynch points out in his post What’s in your house? at the Insurance Information Institute’s blog Terms + Conditions. And he reminds us about Know Your Stuff, a free online home inventory service from III. The following video offers a good introduction.