Recently we talked about why home inventories are vital when it comes to home insurance. Creating a home inventory helps you ensure that you have enough coverage for your home, and it makes filing a claim for fire or burglary much easier. Making a list of all of the belongings in each room of your house might sound tedious, but we’ve got a suggestion for a more tech-friendly way of conducting your home inventory.
If you’re familiar with GoogleDrive, you know that it’s an online file storage system that you can access from any internet-connected device. Anything you create or type into a Google document (simply called a GoogleDoc) within Drive is saved, and it’s a way to avoid keeping your all-important and all-inclusive inventory in your home where it could be destroyed.
Here’s our how-to-make-an-inventory in GoogleDrive guide:
Step 1. Sign up for GoogleDrive.
If you already have a Gmail account, you don’t have to make a separate account for GoogleDrive. You can access it through your email by clicking on the little square icon next to your profile icon on the top right. This is called Google Apps, and from there you can select GoogleDrive. It’ll launch for you and you’re ready to go.
Of course, you might prefer to go directly to GoogleDrive, bypassing your email. You can Google “GoogleDrive” (there’s definitely some humor in this) and navigate to the Drive sign-in page from there. The username and password are the same as the ones for your Gmail—technically the accounts are linked, so you can also access your email through your Drive account. Cool, huh?
If you don’t already have a Gmail account, you can always create a new GoogleDrive account for free. It’ll walk you through the process.
Step 2. Create a main folder for your inventory.
In GoogleDrive, click on the blue NEW button on the top left. It’ll ask you what kind of new item you want to make. Select New Folder and title it in a way that will make your inventory easy to find.
Step 3. Create subfolders for each room in your house.
If you double click on the folder you just created, you’ll come to a blank area. Click on the NEW button again and select New Folder again. Title this folder for a room in your home, i.e. Master Bedroom or Living Room.
Keep creating new folders until you have one for every room in your house.
Step 4. Start listing.
Let’s say we want to start out with the Living Room. Double click the Living Room folder and then click the NEW button. This time select GoogleDoc. This will open up a blank document that works very much like Microsoft Word. Title your document and start listing all of your important belongings. The Doc will automatically save as you go.
If you prefer to make your list using a spreadsheet, you can select GoogleSheet instead of Doc. This will give you an Excel-like spreadsheet that you can use for your inventory. It comes down to personal preference.
Repeat this step for each room in your house. Eventually, you’ll have a pretty robust inventory that’s all neatly organized and easy to navigate.
Step 5. Add photos.
Adding photos is a great way to add credibility to your claim. Since insurance fraud is becoming an issue, insurance companies like to see some “proof” of your claim. Photos or videos help bolster your claim and ensure that you don’t accidentally forget anything.
You can drag and drop images from your computer into the appropriate Drive folders, or you can click the NEW button and then File Upload. Then select the image you want to place in the folder and voila! Now you have photos to accompany your written list of items.
Step 6: Download the GoogleDrive and GoogleDocs apps.
If you want to walk around your house and use your phone to take your inventory, you can download the GoogleDocs and GoogleDrive apps and type your record that way. You’d be more mobile, which could be helpful.
Remember, even if you set up GoogleDrive on a desktop or laptop, you can always access and edit your Docs on your phone or tablet. So if you want to switch over from your computer to your phone, no worries. Everything will be right where you left it and it will update automatically.
Of course, you don’t have to get the apps if you don’t want to—you can still sign in from any computer. Just be mindful of where you sign on and be secure on public computers.
Step 7: Keep your inventory updated.
Phew. Now that you’ve taken stock of everything in your home, the next thing to do is to make sure that your inventory stays updated. GoogleDrive makes this super easy to do because you can sign in and edit your folders, Docs, Sheets, and photos any time you want. So if you purchase that nice, shiny new TV for the family room, take the time to throw it onto your Family Room Doc—it won’t take very long.
As far as Drive is concerned, you’re all set. But GoogleDrive isn’t the only way that you can create an online inventory. There are other services you can use. Two other options are:
- Know Your Stuff is a free program provided by The Insurance Institute and allows you to record all of your possessions, scan and organize receipts and appraisals, and upload photos.
- Evernote is another free program that you can download on your phone, tablet, or computer. It allows you to store descriptions of your belongings, and you can also take photos of receipts, appraisals, and your personal property. Evernote stores all of this to the cloud, so, like with Drive, you can access it from any device. Tip: to find your inventory items easily, tag them with “home inventory.”
GoogleDrive, Know Your Stuff, and Evernote are great ways to be sure that your inventory is accessible no matter what happens to your home. Like we said, with cloud storage you can access files and folders that you create from any device with internet capability. You might find that Drive is a faster and more editable way to create your inventory. And an added plus is that you can prevent your hand from cramping with all that writing!
If you have any questions about your home insurance or if you’d like to get a free quote, contact us today! We love insurance, and we’d love to talk about how to protect your home with the right coverage.