It’s a snap

If you had a devastating personal property disaster – fire, major theft, flood – would you be able to inventory your entire shop for the insurance company? I could do it in seconds.

Talking last week about a major tool purchase, I was reminded of my insurance photo record. Whenever I buy anything of value I take a digital picture of it, then squirrel that photo away. All these photos are on my main computer, of course, plus on my backup hard drive. And, since I subscribe to a cloud-based backup service (a bargain at only $60 a year) everything on my computer is backed up automatically for my convenience any time my data changes.

As an extra failsafe, all my insurance photos are also on a flash drive I keep in my car. So, even if my entire house disappeared down a sinkhole, I have not one but two means of offsite backups with a full record of everything I own.

In thinking about it, I pulled that flash drive out of my glove box this morning just to check it out, and learned that it needed a bit of updating to delete a few things I no longer own, and add a few new items. It took only seconds.

Do you keep this kind of record? You should. Just take a stroll around your home and shop, snapping a full photo of each valuable item. In the house get your TV and electronics, kitchen appliances, furniture, etc. In the shop, shoot every major tool. If you have smaller items in drawers, pull out the drawer and take a snapshot. Shoot the wall where you hang hand tools. Do a 360 – stand in the shop center and take photos as you turn a full circle. Maybe take shots from each corner. For big-ticket items that have visible labels/logos/model numbers, take an extra close-up shot of those.

The first time you do this may take a while, but updating your photo record is a simple matter of taking a single photo or two whenever you get something new.

I hope we never have a property disaster, but if we do I have a complete, detailed photographic record of every item we own to make insurance claims accurate and easy.

As a result, I sleep better at night.



  • Chuck R says:

    Have you ever handed that list to your insurance agent and asked him what his company would pay you if those items were lost in a fire or flood? Unless you have special and expensive riders, I don’t think you are going to collect anywhere near as much as you are expecting. Give it a try …

  • Howard Van Valzah says:

    The complete list of all your tools etc. will be valueless if your insurance does not cover it.. My homeowners insurance is questionable but I’m now at an age where if i lost all my stuff I would just give it up and sit in a rocking chair for what life I have left. And if the insurance will cover it I have a photo record of my workshop but it is not evaluated like it should be.

  • Danny H. says:

    A good reminder for us all AJ ! I took a rather novel approach to this and wrote reviews of all my tools and posted them on Wood Magazines “Review a Tool site”. The reviews include pictures and prices of everything, along with, of course, and honest review. The nice thing about doing it this way was that , at the time, they were giving out rewards for reviews. I posted over 350 reviews and received about that much in dollars in the form of gifts. Great off site record and was paid to do it, and it hopefully benefits others in their tool purchases.

  • BigStick says:

    Great advise. Also most home owner policy will cover you if the tools are stolen. Police report with picture is just a way to stop some of this type of crime. I have several friends that lost tool in there truck just parking at the box store for material. That is just the most pissed off time in your life.

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