It’s Black!


Have you ever lost your luggage?

“Can you please describe it?”

“It’s black!”

Your valuables are far more vulnerable to theft while travelling abroad than when at home. And if you want to make an insurance claim, you’re going to need a police report. Are you capable of describing in detail what was stolen?

Here’s a tip from Clements Worldwide:

Before taking off on a trip, take a few moments and jot down a list of the items you’re taking with you—especially jewellery, electronics and anything valuable that might be coming along. Take photos of these items as well, and store both the list and images on your computer, phone and/or Cloud, so if something goes missing, you have a record of it and can prove you had the item in the first place.

Prior to our 79-day primitive camping trip through the Soutwestern USA, I was a bit paranoid about leaving Rove-Inn, our Land Rover, at trailheads. So I did three things:

  1. bolted a motel safe onto the floor,
  2. added security decals to most of our items, and
  3. recorded all of our camping and camera equipment into an app called Home Inventory by Binary Formations including details such as:
    1. photo
    2. receipt
    3. serial number
    4. vendor, purchase price and date
Our satellite SOS and text communicator with topo maps

I chose Home Inventory for its ease of input. Also, creating a police report or insurance claim following a theft would be very easy on my desktop, or if I had access to a Mac by downloading my inventory from Mobile Backup. After tagging an item as “stolen,” a filtered report could be quickly created to support my claim. If I only had my iPhone or iPad, creating a report would be tougher, but possible. I could even tell the police the lot number for my blue 25” Toursafe Pacsafe luggage.

It didn’t take very long to create a travel inventory. But the exercise convinced me of the merits of doing a complete home inventory. Insurance companies probably pay less than 50% of the value of damaged or lost property because most insured parties don’t have the facts to prove the condition or value of their property. Our Home Insurance Policy requires that we “deliver as soon as practicable to the insurer a proof of loss … giving a complete inventory of that property and showing in detail quantities and costs of that property.” If you’re going to pay insurance premiums you should make the effort to create an inventory in advance.

The quickest way to start is to do a pano-photograph or video of a room and add photographs of the contents of open drawers. Make a rough estimate of value and add it to your inventory app. As time goes by, get more granular, adding invoices, replacement values and photographs for valuable items.

In the event of a loss, we’re now in a position to provide our insurer a detailed inventory of the lost property, its cost and particulars of the amount of loss being claimed. Copies of invoices now reside in a Cloud, rather than just an accordion file that may also have been destroyed.

In the event of the ultimate tragedy wherein a fire followed an earthquake destroying everything, the executors of our estate could file a complete claim within days of the accident. And a bonus for jubilados is there’s a field to record the heir for specific items.

A good New Year’s Resolution would be to choose an inventory app and start taking some pictures.


If you have Apple hardware, consider an app called Home Inventory by Binary Formations

Alternatives include Sortly (iOs and Android), Momento Database (Android and Windows) and My Stuff Pro (iOS)

5 Responses

    1. We spend a lot every year on insurance in case something is lost. So it makes sense to spend a bit of time creating an inventory just in case to maximize the support for your claim.

  1. Technology is great and the digital photograph is one of the best methods of keeping an inventory of your property and also projects being worked on by numerous people..
    Being a heavy duty mechanic I took pictures the contents of every drawer in my tool box’s, a lot of money here and a proof of purchase could be easily gained with a picture of property. Also a picture of the box’s helps as they all have there own personality with decals, plates naming the manufacturer of each item and also model numbers.
    We started off with Polaroid cameras which printed off the picture immediately, not as good as digital but still a viable alternative. With digital you can share and store on local computers or e mail them to parties involved.

    Working in a large shop we always took multiple pictures of engines etc as they came into the shop. This not only showed items that came into the shop but proved that different attachments were or were not on the engine when it came in, solved a lot of arguments right off the top of any discussion.

    Having the pictures was also a time saver when reassembling any project as everyone could find out how any project was configured, the pictures always showed you where a hose or line was positioned, invaluable when putting things together that you did not see come apart.

    Also a great tool for identifying warranty issues for the customer or owner.

    “A picture is worth a thousand words,” still viable today.

    Great artical, something we all can learn from.

    1. Thanks for such an informative comment.
      And a good nudge for me to fulfill my New Year’s Resolution. It’s time to go to the garage and take pictures of my tool drawers!

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