No one likes to think about it, but the devastation from Hurricane Sandy is a good reminder for homeowners that it's important to have some kind of record of what you own.
Heather Swanson and her husband put a lot of sweat equity into creating the rural home they built four years ago. Swanson knows that much of the reclaimed material used could never be replaced. But she wants to document everything to make sure she's prepared in the case of theft or natural disaster.
"I just thought it would be great to have an accurate, visual record of the amount of work we put in and details, architectural elements not be recorded on paper so to go through with a video camera or pictures would just show some of those details that you wouldn't normally see," Swanson said.
Andy Minihan, owner of My Asset List, is videotaping and taking pictures of Swanson's home and will come up with an entire home inventory, right down to serial numbers on electronics.
"It's not just the items inside the house; it's the condition of the house too. It's the hardwood floors, crown molding, fixtures; things of that nature. It's the window coverings in some houses. So, it all ends up adding up," Minihan said.
Minihan started My Asset List, after 17 years in law enforcement. He says he's seen all too often when victims of disaster or theft have trouble getting accurately reimbursed for their loss.
"It's very hard during that time of stress to recall every single item in your house that is now destroyed, gone, or you won't be able to remember at that point. So, to have that stored off-site, where you can retrieve it and present it to your adjuster, will make it that much easier and quicker for you to get a financial recovery," Minihan said.
Minihan is the first to admit that a homeowner can do this for themselves, but says often it's a much bigger job than people anticipate.
"People try to be cheap and think they can do it themselves. But I am at a point where it's worth it to pay a professional to make sure it's done right; to make sure the appropriate documents are filed and processed so in the event of loss, I'm covered," Swanson said.
My Asset List charges $95 per 1,000 square feet, with a minimum of $250 for residents and $325 for businesses. It takes Minihan about three hours in the average home to take an inventory of what's inside.
Check out My Asset List on Facebook.