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Homeowners Insurance

If you ever fall victim to a flood or a fire, and have to replace all of your belongings, you'll need to come up with a detailed inventory to get a payout from your insurance.

When a raging fire ripped thru this apartment complex back in December, the homeowner could only watch.

"The Red Cross came that night, to find out that we were all okay, you know, that we had a place to stay," said Mariela Dabbah.

Once the smoke cleared, the tough work began to untangle the insurance mess which followed.

"I had no receipts or no list of things that I owned," said Dabbah.

Consumer Reports says one of the best ways to document your belongings for insurance purposes, is with a video.

"It doesn't have to be complicated, you can even use the camera on your phone," said Tobie Stanger witih Consumer Reports.

Try to capture everything you own. Opening closets, cabinets and drawers, describing what you see as you record.

Be sure to include what's in your bookcase and art that's hanging on the walls, and major appliances.

And, capture brand names and serial numbers, so your insurer can replace what you had with exact - or similar items.

"Focus on what's valuable. You can skip the cleaning supplies in a closet, for instance. An insurance adjuster is likely to create a 'bulk estimate' for those things anyway," said Stanger.

Put the video onto a thumb drive and upload it into the cloud -- or stash it in a safe place, so it's there when you need it.

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