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Top 5 Reasons to Inventory Your Belongings Now: An Interview with Frank Krulish of Fairfield Home Inventory, LLC

By Frank Krulish

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My name is Frank Krulish and I own and operate Fairfield Home Inventory, LLC. We are based out of Stamford, Connecticut and service all of Fairfield and New Haven Counties. Twenty five years ago I realized the importance of having a home inventory when my Allstate agent advised me to have one for my new home. I never had the chance to perform one because I was too busy making a living and raising a family.

I retired in 2012 after a long successful career as an operations manager for a Fortune 500 Telecommunications company. I loved my job and had a purpose in life; now my new purpose is to educate our local community (and beyond) about the value and importance of taking stock of their possessions.

I formed Fairfield Home Inventory, LLC in the summer of 2012. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I learned firsthand from insurance providers about home/business owners who desperately tried to recreate a room by room list of all their possessions from memory. I found this to be a heartbreaking and overwhelming task.

Our professional documentation service provides home and business owners with a complete set of reports containing full details about everything they own, along with high quality digital images. In addition, we also include a data backup CD, software so the homeowner can view home inventory results on their PC, and a homeowner information package filled with helpful tips and advice.

Fairfield Home Inventory, LLC is registered with the state of Connecticut, fully insured and bonded.

What would is one of the biggest benefits of having an accurate inventory of your possessions?

Would you be able to remember everything you own if disaster strikes? In my opinion, the biggest benefit of a having a detailed inventory with a CD (stored off site of course) begins with your insurance claim. You will receive insurance settlements faster because you will be able to identify what was lost. It's valuable to have a third party perform your home inventory, proving legitimacy in the eyes of the insurance companies. Most people can't recall every item accumulated over the years after a loss. Of course there are many more benefits of knowing the value of all your possessions but this is considered the main reason.

What are some of the most common disasters that homeowners in Connecticut experience?

In the Northeast (Fairfield County) we usually get a mixed bag of weather related disasters all year round but the way weather patterns are changing they're becoming more severe. Some of the most common include:

- Powerful hurricanes such as Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, tropical storms, lightning strikes (home fires), wind related damage (trees falling on houses).
- Winter snow storms, blizzards, water damage from frozen pipes, fireplace fires.

It's also very important to include theft, home burglaries, etc. That's why you might want to include serial numbers on high-value items such as electronics. Any receipts and appraisal information (if available) for jewelry, art work, antiques and special collections...the list goes on and on.

Can you give an example of what could happen after a fire, flood, theft or other disaster if you don't have proper documentation of your belongings?

When filing a claim for destroyed or stolen items, having independent 3rd party documentation will make filing a claim easier, more credible and result in a quicker, more complete reimbursement with fewer disputes. Most insurance companies have a "Your Duties After a Loss" section in their policies (Notice the wording here is "after a loss"): "Prepare an inventory of damaged or stolen personal property. Show in detail the quantity, description, age, replacement cost and amount of loss. Attach to the inventory all bills, receipts and related documents that substantiate the figures in the inventory."

They direct you to sit down with a pad and pencil and, from memory, try to recreate each room in your house and write down all the items and their approximate value. Now in my thinking, when a disaster strikes, no one can be in the proper state of mind to recreate all of their possessions collected over a lifetime and attach a dollar amount to them. One forgotten item can cover the cost of the entire professional home inventory.

A complete home inventory may be your only proof of valuable possessions in case of loss. If there is an insurance claim, detailed and verified information about the lost items can make the difference between a paid claim and a disputed claim. Relying solely on your memory will be an expensive mistake.

Besides disasters, what are some other ways that an inventory of the belongings in your home can be used?

This is a great question. Every time I go to a Networking event I realize new ways home and business owners can benefit from having an inventory. Here are just some ways an inventory can be used:

1. Taxes and Valuation to verify losses for income tax deductions.
2. Estate Planning - Can be used to supplement legal documentation for estate planning, trusts and prenuptial agreements.
3. Moving - Document your property before moving so you can support claims for lost or damaged items.
4. Storage - Keep track of items you have in storage.
5. Divorce - Unfortunate situations can occur that will require the distribution of marital assets. having documentation can reduce time, costs and stress.
6. Special Collections - Work with appraisers to document valuable art, antiques, etc.
7. Rental Properties - Keep track of rental properties and contents.

Do you have any tips for people about getting their house inventoried?

Privacy and confidentiality are a concern anytime someone enters your home. It may be housekeeping, carpet cleaning, repairs, or painting or delivery personnel. We understand this concern and are sensitive to our clients' wishes. Before we start any inventory, we take a tour of the home with our client. At this time we listen to any concerns or issues they may have in any of their rooms or with any of their items. We respect that each person has a varying comfort level, thus we put our clients at ease prior to beginning their inventory. We also encourage client participation, and we are registered with the state of Connecticut, bonded and insured. In addition, we sign a confidentiality agreement with you as part of our standard contract.

Every homeowner's needs are different. An inventory can be as detailed as to include everything in their home, garage, video of the house exterior and property, or as simple as an express inventory to cover high-value items such as electronics or collectibles.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Fairfield Home Inventory, LLC is based out of Stamford, Connecticut, serving Fairfield County and surrounding areas. Call us at 203-914-5391. We are available 24 hours a day. Home and business owners can also check us out on FaceBook by clicking on the FB link on our website or going to https://www.facebook.com/FairfieldHomeInventory. We can also be reached by email: frank@fairfiledhomeinventory.com or info@fairfieldhomeinventory.com.

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