With fire season approaching, it's important to get your home as wildfire ready as possible. And that includes taking a home inventory, which is more important than ever.
It's a sad but familiar sight these days -- homes wiped out by wildfires.
Carolyn Carradine lost her Malibu home in the Woolsey fire.
"You walked in the entryway and you had a view straight out to the ocean," she recalled.
Get Southern California news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC LA newsletters.
Trying to remember every belonging Carradine collected over the past 22 years, to report to her insurance company, was nearly impossible.
And residents in Northern California learned just how important a home inventory is. During the 2017 fires, insurance claims were tied up for many homeowners who didn't have one.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
"They want every single thing you ever had," recalled one resident. "Every cup and saucer, every spoon and fork."
So how do you take a home inventory? Grab your cell phone and take pictures and videos of everything in your house. Open drawers and closets. Note how many pairs of shoes you have, how many dinner plates. Open up the garage or other storage units and record everything in there too.
"Can you remember everything you have in your house? In every room and every closet and in your garage? Everything your kids have? No way," said Nicole Ganley with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, an insurance industry trade group.
Ganley says most insurance companies have inventory instructions on their websites. There are also apps that will walk you through taking an inventory.
Ganley says the better you keep track of your belongings, the quicker insurance companies can process your claim, paying out exactly what you deserve.
"You will maximize your policy," said Ganley. "You will get everything you deserve for the coverage that you've paid for."
And one final perk to taking a home inventory: you might realize you're underinsured, so you can boost your coverage to what you need.