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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Online Inventory Service - What You Need To Know!

On-Line Inventory Services

Are You Looking For An On-Line Inventory Service?

If you are looking at using an On-line Inventory Service, [OIS], for the recording and storage of your home inventory, it will help if you are aware of the following questions and issues.

Most On-Line Inventory Services, operate with different systems and policies, these differences being in the number of item images and details that can be stored, and how data is added to the inventory. Therefore pricing structures vary, both in total cost and calculation.

Adding Data / Images To The Inventory.
  • What methods are available for adding data to the inventory?
  • How long will it take to upload images to the inventory?
  • Can images be added via a batch upload, or as per inventory item?
  • Does the OIS support multiple images of an item?
  • What is the resolution and size of suitable image files?
  • Does the image at the accepted resolution show the details you need?
  • Is the OIS software limited to size and number of images, or inventory entries?
Be aware that a large amount of small resolution images, can add up to a large amount of data, with upload success only being achieved by using broadband. You will need to be aware of the image resolution and size when creating your images. There are software options available that will resize images for you.

Issues of on-line security should be well investigated, when deciding to use an OIS. How secure is your on-line identity? There are many reasons for on-line security intrusions. There are software packages that can add a high level of additional security, to your on-line identity.

Inventory Creation On-line & Off-Line.
  • Can the data side of the inventory, [item description, serial, model, cost, condition, etc,] be worked on whilst being off-line and uploaded later?
  • If off-line inventory generation is supported, does the OIS supply software to do this or support other data formats, such as .csv or excel files for importing into the OIS inventory?
If data can only be added per item whilst being on-line, you need to be aware of the time and cost. Broadband would be beneficial here.

Copies Of Inventory.
  • What are the methods of obtaining a copy of the inventory from the OIS?
  • What is the shortest amount of time it would take to obtain a copy of the inventory?
  • Is there a cost for copies?
Inventory Forwarding.
  • Is The OIS willing to forward the inventory to an insurance company or authorities at your request and if so would there be additional costs?
  • In what format would this data be forwarded to the insurance company or authorities?
Secure ID would need to be verified for this to occur.

OIS Security.
  • How secure is the OIS?
  • What happens if you suffer a total loss, with loss of account details and PC?
  • In which country is the OIS operations and inventory data storage located?
  • What kind of backup has the OIS got in case of system loss or viral infection?
  • Is this backup in a separate location from the main OIS system?
Personal Data.
  • What system is in place to prove your ID if this is the case to obtain your inventory details?
  • How secure is your personal information?
  • What kind of protocol is in place for reducing ID theft!
  • Does the OIS pass on any of the personal data to third parties?
Inventory Data.
  • What happens to the inventory data if due accounts are not settled on time?
  • How long will the OIS keep this inventory data on file?
Your Skills & Time.
  • Have you the time and skills, (photography, data entry, PC skills) to perform this on-line inventory yourself in the time frame you wish it to be completed?
  • How accurate is the completed inventory going to be?
  • Is the format of the inventory in a suitable format that would be accepted by insurance companies and authorities?
  • How many times are you planning to update your inventory each year?
  • How long will these updates take?
Updates & Changes To Data.
  • How many inventory updates are you going to submit to the OIS a year?
  • Is there a limit / cost on these updates?
OIS Support.
  • What kind of support is available from the OIS if issues arise?
  • Is support available 24/7 via phone or email?
  • Is there a cost for this support?
Issues may arise with inventory data creation, upload, download and image resize for example. If the OIS is in another country, is the support offered at a suitable time to you?

Aussie Home Inventories looked at the services offered by three On-line Inventory Services. If you are looking at using an [OIS] for the recording / storage of your home inventory, it is hoped you have found answers to the questions you had.

Who Would We Recommend As A On-Line Inventory Service & Why?

We recommend The Estate Vault because it is top of the line, in On-Line Inventories when compared to others. To learn more about the Estate Vault read our article - Consolidating Personal & Property Information & Planning Your Estate.

Many of you may find the thought of creating your own home inventory to daunting. If you would like an easier option and have the inventory taken for you, then contact Aussie Home Inventories.

Create Your Inventory Using The Home Inventory Software We Use

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