by Susanna Haynie, "The PCS Coach"
Why do you have to go through the trouble of inventorying your home, at least inventory your valuable items such as electronics, collectibles, jewelery or antiques?
In case of a damage or loss you need to be able to prove that you owned the item and you want to show what it is worth. A few years ago the military added an important benefit for our PCSing military families:
For personal property lost, damaged or destroyed while in the care of the Transportation Service Provider (TSP), the member can recover the greater of $5,000 per shipment or $4.00 times the weight of the shipment (in pounds) up to a maximum of $50,000 as compensation for loss.
This means you will need to establish a value of your household goods so that you can receive maximum reimbursement. It doesn't matter how big or small your house is, compiling an inventory can be a daunting task. I know of some folks that are diligent and record all receipts and information at the time of purchase. I dare say, that most of us don't do it that way. If you are like me, you might scramble in the last few weeks or months, at best, before a move.
The quickest way is to video record each item. No writing, no double checking and you can prove that the item was in your possession. If you have a video camera at hand you might as well video record your complete household -yes, all rooms- so that you have a record of it.
Some military families still like to take digital pictures. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you know where you stored this information. You might want to burn the files on a CD or store them on another external drive.
Before taking photos, collect all the documentation you have for your special item prior to photographing. Documentation can be in form of receipts, estimates, certificates and so on. Scan, record or photograph and store this documentation WITH the appropriate item.
Having a household inventory is a good thing, not just for moving but also for rental or homeowners insurance. Although this may seem like another step in your PCS checklist it could be worth your time on the other end to be as thorough as possible. So get to it...it's really not that bad!