Dramatic scenes of tornado-wrought devastation and wrecked properties in Oklahoma this week are another potent reminder to renters and homeowners all across the country to take an inventory of everything they own before a storm hits.
It can make a big difference if your household suffers major damage.
" Go through your house with your smartphone," suggests Kimberly Lankford, contributing editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. "Smartphones make this so much easier. Just take pictures and video of everything, because if you do have a claim you don't have to piece together everything yourself."
Smartphone apps can help you compile a complete list. "There's one called knowyourstuff.org that makes it really easy to get that list of everything," says Lankford.
Infographic: Tornado Facts
This can really help when making a claim to your insurance company. "Especially in a situation where so much is destroyed you don't have to go through and look and remember. Also, if you can then email that to the insurance company that puts you ahead of the people who are still waiting to put their list together," Lankford says.
After a big storm, fire or earthquake many people are trying to get their claims paid at the same time.
Putting your information at a secure site online can help you file a claim quickly and thoroughly.
"Anything you can do ahead of time can make a big difference," says Lankford. "Getting your inventory squared away is a key thing."
Richard Davies is the business correspondent for ABC News Radio.