Home Inventory 2.1
Posted 15 July 2010 - 04:47 PM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 07:09 AM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:42 AM
Hi, developer of Home Inventory here. Admittedly, I'm biased, but from my point of view there are a lot of advantages to using a specialized application like Home Inventory over a spreadsheet. First an foremost is storing additional information such as photos, receipts, and file attachments (user manuals, software updates, etc) that you cannot easily do just using a spreadsheet. In particular, photos of your items in your home (not promotional shots like you see on Amazon) and receipts help show proof of possession, which is useful should you ever need to file an insurance claim. Detailed photos can also be useful for the police in the case of theft.
Another important advantage is data entry and navigation. Data entry just quicker when you use an application that was designed to perform this task, plus you have the added benefit of being able to navigate your items in a more intuitive fashion.
Though I cannot speak for the other products in this category, Home Inventory offers other advantages over a spreadsheet:
- A very thorough policy system allows you to store information on your homeowners/renters, auto, life, health, and other insurance policies. For property insurance, we support those goofy coverage exceptions that are all too common like having $200,000 worth of personal property coverage, but only $5,000 of that can be used to cover jewelry and no single piece of jewelry is insured for over $1,000. One of the useful things you can do with Home Inventory is analyze your coverage, taking into account these exceptions, to make sure your valuables are properly covered.
- The ability to backup to MobileMe so you will always have an offsite copy in a secure location.
- The ability to customize field layouts at the category level so that the data fields you are presented with books, for example, might include an author, publisher and ISBN number, where as a piece of electronics equipment may have a manufacturer, model number, and serial number instead.
- Home Inventory allows you to add photos and receipts from a file on disk, dragging and dropping from another application, an iSight camera, or by scanning them in using a scanner. In addition, you can copy or drag and drop text-based receipts from online retailers, such as Amazon, from your email client into Home Inventory.
- A built in photo editor so you can make simple edits to photos and receipts without having to resort to an external program.
- Dated notes for keeping track of repair histories, item modifications, or other useful information about specific items.
- The ability to store information for multiple warranties (manufacturer, extended, supplemental, etc) so it is always at your fingertips.
There's much more. But my point is, there is (at least for some) more to keeping a complete inventory than what a spreadsheet can offer. Home Inventory and its competitors, such as Compartments, allow you to do this easily. I can certainly understand that some people may not want or need these additional features, and that's fine too.
We spent a lot of time researching the type of information insurance adjusters and police need in the event you have to file a claim or report a theft. We also talked with a wide variety of users ranging from home inventory specialists to avid collectors to help design a program that is powerful enough for uses beyond tracking items for insurance purposes. I think (again, I'm biased) we have built a product that serves those purposes very well.
As for exporting data, yes we certainly support that. None of your item information, photos, receipts, etc. are trapped inside the program. You can always get it out. We also generate PDF reports which can be printed and stored for safe keeping or sent to your insurance adjuster electronically and can be viewed on just about any modern computer out there, even a Window system.
Posted 24 July 2010 - 05:49 AM
That's so ignorant I can't ignore it. I had severe ice and water damage at my first house. Eight years later my second house suffered an electrical fire. Different companies in different states, both claims paid in full, no muss, no fuss. Didn't get dropped, didn't see a spike in my rate.
I'll have to check out the software. I used to keep an inventory in Excel but it it is a PITA so I haven't updated in years.
Posted 25 July 2010 - 09:41 AM
Home Inventory's currency settings and number formats are taken from the Formats tab of the Language & Text section in System Preferences. So while it is capable of dealing with whatever the native currency you have setup on your Mac, it does not support using multiple currencies at the same time (ie: item 1 has a price specified in US dollars and item 2 has a price specified in British pounds). You would essentially have to pick one currency and convert from others. We are looking into adding multiple currency support at some point, but it won't be in the near future as our current focus is on developing an iPhone version that syncs with the Mac version.
The multiple currency issue is actually a more difficult problem than it seems. Allowing you to enter amounts in multiple currencies is, by itself, not a big deal. The problem comes with reporting and what the insurance companies are looking for. Do you break out the totals by currency or do you normalize everything into a single local currency? If you do the latter, do you convert the amount to the local currency using the exchange rate at the time of purchase or whatever the exchange rate happens to be when the report is run? Also, if you have a typical policy that reimburses you based on replacement value, how does this work? An example would be having a home in the UK insured by a UK insurance company. If you buy an iPod in the US and it is stolen out of your home, do they offer a settlement based on the price of an iPod in the UK or do they look at what it would cost to buy a new one in the US? These are things that we are looking into and have been discussing with users that frequently buy things in multiple countries or have homes in multiple countries. If you want to head over to the website and drop us an email on our support page with your thoughts on this, it would be greatly appreciated. We spend a lot of time researching the insurance side of things to make sure our reports and policy support is useful and accurate, so when we add this feature we want to make sure we get it right.
Binary Formations, LLC