There's one thing that most of us aren't good at and that's preparing for the unexpected. Encircle: Home Inventory is an app that helps you take stock of your property and possessions in case things take a turn for the worse.
Wherever we may live, we face environmental and other risks such as fire, storms, floods, civil unrest or theft. While most of these are unavoidable, it makes sense to take stock of what you have, and take measures to protect your property.
Recent dangerous bush fires in my country prompted me to seek a solution. The Encircle app for Android and iOS helps you create and maintain a home inventory in a stylish and easy to navigate layout. It looks good on a phone or a tablet, and is easy to understand and use.
To begin, you add a property. This can be a house, apartment or any other dwelling. If you own or manage multiple properties, these can be easily added too. At this point, you can take an exterior photo. Next you can take photos of each room, one or as many as you want. This can come in handy if you're decorating your home. Each stage of creating your inventory is clearly explained on the various app screens.
A good use for Encircle is if you rent or lease a property. You could take photos of the property condition before you move in. This could be used as supporting evidence of any problems that aren't your fault. You may need to refer to these later to help resolve any disputes.
Now, you can take photos of assets such as individual items of furniture or appliances and electronics items in each room. You can take several shots of each item if you wish. If you have a sales receipt, you can add a photo of it.
Another useful feature is you can select from a manufacturer and model list and the app will fill in extra details for you from the Internet. Later, you can add serial number, price or estimated value and warranty details. Any extra information can be added from your desktop PC web browser after logging into the Encircle website or do it with the app. The app shows which items have incomplete information.
How often have you lost the instruction manual for appliances and electronics? You can add a link to online documentation to get to it later if needed. The app even adds related online video links for you. The great thing is you don't have to get all the item details together at once. You can always come back to it later and add extra information when you get time. The more detail you provide, the better value you will get from your inventory.
If you include your garage, why not photograph your car and enter all its details as well. The point is, the more thorough you are, the better the outcome will be. You'll have all the information available if something unfortunate happens.
If the need arises, you can access your data again from any Android or iOS device or a web browser on a desktop PC. Just sign in with your Encircle credentials. All items can be exported to a PDF file from the app including clickable links for the entire property, individual rooms or specific items or assets. If something is stolen or destroyed, you have the supporting documentation for your insurance claim. It's at this point you'll be glad you spent those few hours putting together your home inventory with Encircle.
Once you're happy that you've captured everything, have a look at the total value and compare that with your current insurance policy and what it covers. Most people will find discrepancies that need to be fixed as circumstances change.
Encircle isn't an app that you'll need to use often. If you get into the habit of using it to document new purchases, warranty details and so forth, its usefulness will become obvious. The next time you need to make an insurance or warranty claim, you'll be glad your forward planning has paid off by making the process much less painful.
Encircle: Home Inventory — Free Mobile App of the Week
Size: 14 MB
For iPhone and iPad
Size: 10.2 MB
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