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Catapult Garage Library Manager

Library? Library? Well, yes. If you are a collector of books, Music Cd's, Video DVD's, and/or have a group of software packages you've "collected" over the last three or five years, you have a library. Now comes the question. Do you have it organized so you can actually find the item you want? Do you have it priced out in such a way that, God forbid, if a disaster wiped it out you could provide a pricing list to the insurance company showing what you had, how much it cost, when you got it, and where you got it?

See, this tool really is for you!
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Categories For Your Library's Contents

The Library Manager comes with a default setup for using the ages-old, yet still amazingly good for small libraries, Dewey Decimal System. You can easily categorize your books, magazines, and other such resources using this system. We recommend that you use the configuration menu to bring up the "Catalog Numbers" that are available to you and familiarize yourself with the DDS. You'll quickly see that there are probably two or three number series where your "stuff" fits in.

But the DDS is, by internet time, older than ancient. What about CDs, DVDs, and software packages? That's easy. Just add categories to suit your library/collection.

What About Insuring It? (5/10/2012)

What happens to your library if, for example, the house burns to the ground? A tornado or hurricane wipes it away. First, let's pray that it doesn't happen. Then, let's pray that if it does, neither you nor your loved ones are hurt. Lastly, let's consider what happens when the insurance people come to talk to you. The first thing is, do you even have a list of the library's contents that were lost? If you do, the insurance company will next ask for a list of the "stuff"--not just your library "stuff," but all contents--you lost showing what it was, when you procured it, where you procured it, and how much you paid for it. (A word of caution. NEVER say that anything was irreplaceable because that lets the insurance company off the hook if they're of such a mindset as to save themselves some money at your expense.)

Now let me relate a personal experience. Our home was robbed. At the time we lived in a state where homeowners' insurance policies were, by default, written to pay for lost items using a depreciation table--so, for example, you'd be paid $100-$200 for the $1,000 TV you just lost to the thieves. (Some states still have this situation...YOU MUST check to be sure your insurance covers 100% replacement costs. Don't trust that the agent did it for you. It won't be your agent getting the $100 for the $1,000 TV. And while you're at it, check to be sure that your contents coverage would pay for what you have. If you have such things as jewelry, cameras, guns, stamp collections, etc., you may need to add a rider to cover this kind of thing...don't trust to chance. Ask and try to get the response in writing, even if it's an email.)

So the insurance company--I won't name them--sent a nice young man out to serve as their claims adjuster. He walked in and shoved "his copy" of my insurance policy under my nose. The catch was that his copy did not include the 100% Replacement Rider I had paid extra to get. That's when I shoved "my copy" of the policy under HIS nose and pointed out that I had the rider. His response was, "Oh, I must have missed that." Watching him say this, there was no doubt in my mind that he was lying to me, but had I not had a copy of my policy I wouldn't have had the rider I had paid for after all.

Six months later, I finally spoke to the Vice President for US Operations of the insurance company in question and told him the entire story of how this young man had constantly tried to scam me. Then I told him my lawyer was chomping at the bit to sue his company for insurance fraud and that if I didn't get what the company owed me within 7 days I would tell the lawyer to, "sic 'em." Two days later I finally had my money. Here's a final note about my experience: unfortunately, you'll know if you really have insurance or are just be defrauded only when you have to file a claim. Deal with a reputable company even if you have to pay a bit more to do so...it's worth it.

The message to you is this. Scan your homeowner's policy to disk--the entire thing plus any changes.

Be sure to check out the Personal Inventory tool, too.

Having said all this, it's not enough simply to make such a detailed list. Take some pictures of the contents of your home that you're listing. Put the data on a disk (or three) along with the pictures and the insurance policy you scanned. Then--and this is a "duh!" thing but people often fail to do it. Take the disk(s) and put them somewhere far away from your home.

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