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You have home insurance to cover the costs you may incur in the event something happens to your home. Fire could ravage your home and render it and all the things inside it worthless and in most cases gone completely.

If something like this were to happen to you would your insurance company give you the accurate value for the contents of your home or just what they think you deserve. If someone broke into your house and ran off with your TV would you be able to claim it if the police recovered it? An even better question should be whether or not the insurance coverage you have will even pay enough to replace everything if you knew what you had.

For these reasons it is imperative that you create a home inventory. The home inventory is essentially a listing of everything you own and where possible how much you paid for it. The more detailed information you can provide the better off you are going to be. For the items you can’t find the exact purchase price it helps to have model and serial numbers on record. These details will not only help to determine replacement cost they will also aid you identifying any stolen items from your home.

You can choose to create your inventory based on the category your items are in or the room where the item resides. Either way you want to make a complete listing of the items for future reference. Include the DVD’s the furniture, HDMI cables, etc. Every item of value. Accurately listing out your items ensures you will get appropriate compensation in the unfortunate event it needs to replaced. I would suggest starting by room and listing each and every item you own. If possible take photos of each of the items and include the date of purchase and where it came from. Some typical items, by room, might include:

Living Room

Coffee Table
End Table
Panasonic 52″ TV Serial XFDET3 HDTV

Dining Room

Grandma’s Fine China (Photo’s)
Dining Table
Eight Chairs
China Cabinet
Buffet Table

Anyway you get the idea. The key here is to make your inventory complete and include as much information about each of the items as you can. If your desk is made of exotic zebra wood make sure you include that tidbit of information. I can assure you that desk would cost a lot more than the one I am using right now.

There are plenty of options for entering and maintaining your home inventory. One of the simplest, and most affordable, options is to utilize a simple spreadsheet and digital photgraphs. There is also an abundance of home inventory software on the market. Quicken offers a Home Inventory Manager which will set you back around $30.  Whether you choose to purchase home inventory software, or utilize some of the free home inventory software options like Know Your Stuff from the Insurance Information Institute the most important thing is to store your inventory off site. If you happen to be an iPhone owner there is an iPhone App I reviewed called Home Inventory you could utilize as well.

Maintaining a perfect inventory of your belongings won’t do you any good if it is in the filing cabinet or on the hard drive of a computer that were in the home that was just destroyed.

Get out there and get inventorying.

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N204-1364-main01-mplNow through September 30th you can get the speech recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking for $29.99 after instant savings and mail in rebate from CompUSA. This software regularly runs for $99 and for a limited time comes with a free headset microphone. The instant savings are $50 leaving you with $49.99 to pay and you get a $20 mail in rebate.

According to the CompUSA site:

With the Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard with Headset , you can talk to your computer and watch your spoken words instantly appear in documents, email and instant messages. You can even surf the Web just by speaking! The Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard turns your voice into text three times faster than most people type “” with up to 99% accuracy. It learns to recognize your voice instantly, and continually improves the more you use it! Just use your voice to dictate and edit in virtually any Windows application, including Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and AOL. This revolutionary and easy-to-use product gives you everything you need to get started, including a high-quality headset.

I personally don’t have a problem with using my keyboard, and I would probably look funny talking to my computer but if you ever wanted speech recognition software you can’t really beat the price. In addition to the software you will get a free headset microphone ($20 value) when you order before 09/30/2009. So if you are interested hop on over to CompUSA and pick up a copy today (limit of 2 per order).

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Intuit, as you may know as the new owners of Mint, are currently offering their line of Quickbooks products at a 20% discount.

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