Catastrophe can strike at any time, but before it does, you can be prepared with a home inventory. Having a list of your possessions makes it that much easier to file an insurance claim in the event of damage or theft. The checklist allows you to record the item, price, date of purchase and brand name. You may also want to record the model and serial number.

Homeowners and renters are also encouraged to include any sales receipts of items listed, and you also may want to include a picture of the item. Once completed, the Home Inventory Checklist should be kept in a safe, fire-proof place. You also could scan the checklist into a PDF. Remember to update the checklist when you make new purchases.

The bureau offers the following checklist for your convenience: PDF or Excel.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioner's MyHOME Scr.APP.book lets you quickly capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of your prized possessions. The app organizes information room by room and even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing. It is great for determining how much insurance you really need and for filing a claim.