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My Online Home Inventory Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently asked questions  


On this page we answer the questions we most frequently get asked. We've split them into two categories:


General FAQs


  1. Why should I have a home inventory?  
  2. I think I have enough insurance. Why do I still need to have an inventory?  
  3. OK, I agree I need a home inventory. Why should I store it on the web?  
  4. But if I keep my inventory on the web, won't people be able to see where I live and steal my things?  
  5. How do I know my data is safe from prying eyes?  
  6. What about those guys that film people's things with a camcorder? Isn't that better than a web site?  
  7. OK, I agree a web site is the best place to store my inventory. But why My Online Home Inventory?  
  8. OK, I'm convinced! Where do I sign up and how much does all this cost?  
  9. What is your refund policy, and how do I cancel my subscription?  
 
 
 
  1. Why should I have a home inventory?

A home inventory is essential when you need to make an insurance claim in the event of a loss, be it through theft, fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster. The more you lose, the more important it is to have a complete inventory of your possessions.

Insurance industry figures estimate that up to 80% of households are under insured. This means that in the event of a total loss, those homeowners will not be fully compensated.

The best way to avoid being under insured is to keep an accurate inventory of your belongings, and remember: the only thing worse than losing everything is not knowing what you've lost...
 
 
  2. I think I have enough insurance. Why do I still need to have an inventory?

Even if you have enough insurance coverage, in the event of a total loss you can only replace what you remember to. With all the stress and anxiety that occurs at times of total loss, the last thing you want to be worrying about is if you can remember everything you had.

Having a home inventory will relieve you of this burden, and will increase the chances of you being able to replace all of your cherished belongings.
 
 
  3. OK, I agree I need a home inventory. Why should I store it on the web?

Because the web is the easiest, safest, and most convenient place to store it!

You could try keeping your home inventory on pieces of paper, but paper is easily damaged (for example, by water or fire), and is hard to update. A paper inventory is also hard to share, unless you go to the expense of making copies.

You could try keeping your home inventory on your computer, but this has lots of drawbacks. You need a copy of the program on every machine you want to access your data from—an insurance agent is not likely to let you do that!—and you'll need multiple copies of your data. Will you remember to update all your copies when you buy something new?

Even if you don't use a proprietory program, your home inventory will be lost if your computer is stolen or damaged. Sure, you could burn a copy of it onto CD-ROM and keep that in your safety deposit box, but how often will you update it, given how awkward it will be to do so? An out-of-date home inventory is not much more use than none at all.

Keeping your home inventory online means that you can access it from any web-enabled device, from anywhere in the world (even your cell phone!). Updating your online home inventory is a breeze too: just fire up your browser, and away you go!
 
 
  4. But if I keep my inventory on the web, won't people be able to see where I live and steal my things?

No. We do not store—nor do we even ask for—any information that could be used to personally identify you, or where you live. Your anonymity is your guarantee that your home is not at risk by keeping your inventory on line.
 
 
  5. How do I know my data is safe from prying eyes?

All confidential information that travels between your computer and our server is strongly encrypted, using military grade 256-bit encryption (as far as we're concerned, once you've logged in, all your data is confidential, so we encrypt everything). This means that your information is safe from unscrupulous people who might be monitoring your Internet connection.
 
 
  6. What about those guys that film people's things with a camcorder? Isn't that better than a web site?

No. Having someone come to your home to film your inventory can cost you hundreds of dollars, and although it is better than nothing, a filmed inventory isn't very useful. Your insurance agent isn't going to have time to watch a filmed inventory, but looking at the reports and printouts available from My Online Home Inventory takes just seconds, and your insurance agent can do it at their own desk.

Consider this: the person filming your valuable possessions might be bonded and insured, but are you going to take the time to check their credentials? Do you really want a stranger walking through your home, recording all your expensive and personal possessions? (Will they tell anyone what you have and where you live?) And where will you store the DVD or tape they give you? In your home? Your safety deposit box? In question 3 we explained why these aren't good places to store your inventory, and that storing your inventory on a web site is best.

Also, what will you do when it's time to update your inventory (ideally, after every major purchase)? Do you really want to pay someone several hundred dollars more to redo your inventory, when a couple of minutes of typing will update your online inventory, for free?

Finally, the businesses that film inventories often have a time limit on how long they'll spend in your home. How much detail can they record in an hour or two, especially if you have a lot of items you want to keep an inventory of? A quick pan of each room is simply not good enough. With My Online Home Inventory, you decide how much or how little detail to put into your inventory, and how long you spend making it.
 
 
  7. OK, I agree a web site is the best place to store my inventory. But why My Online Home Inventory?

My Online Home Inventory is focused on what really matters: providing you with a safe, secure, and easy to use online inventory management solution. Here are some of the features and benefits we offer:

FeatureBenefit
Intuitive, easy-to-use interface You can start entering your inventory almost immediately, and can concentrate on entering and maintaining your inventory, rather than on how to use the site.
Comprehensive online help Should you ever get stuck, context-sensitive online help is just a click or two away.
Generous disk allowance You can store more pictures of your items: with the default settings (where each image is 640 x 480 pixels) you can store more than 1500 photos!
Inline pictures of your items and locations The main picture of the item or location is displayed where it is most useful: with its description. This is very useful when printing out an item's page for your insurance agent.
Automatic thumbnails A thumbnail of every image you store in your inventory is automatically created, and displayed in the lists of your items and so on. This makes identifying a particular item in your inventory a breeze.
Guest logins You can enable guest logins, whereby you give people you trust (e.g., your insurance agent or lawyer) read-only access to your inventory (they can't change or delete anything, nor can they see any of your private information).
Detailed reports You can generate detailed, easy-to-read reports of your inventory. For example, with a valuation report grouped by item category, your insurance agent can advise you about items for which you might need to purchase additional coverage (such as items of jewellery, collections, and so on).

And there are many more!
 
 
  8. OK, I'm convinced! Where do I sign up and how much does all this cost?

Becoming a member of My Online Home Inventory is easy, and takes only a couple of minutes. If you sign up right now, you can be enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have a safe, detailed inventory of all your valuable possessions in no time!

A one-year membership to My Online Home Inventory is only CAD $50 (there's also a one-time $25 set up fee, and GST will be added for Canadian residents). With your membership you get 24/7 access to your account, the ability to store information about a virtually unlimited number of items in as many locations as you want, and a method of keeping track of your insurance policies and warranties. In addition to all this, your membership also allows you to generate numerous reports to help you keep track of your inventory. If you haven't done so already, check out our online tour to see the many features and benefits available with your membership to My Online Home Inventory.

If you think $50 per year—just pennies per day!—is a lot of money, consider this: if you buy just one cup of coffee per day, you'll probably spend much more than $50 in just one month! Now, is $50 really too much to pay for the peace of mind—knowing that when it really matters you have an up to date, detailed list of all your valuable and cherished possessions—that your membership will bring you?
 
 
  9. What is your refund policy, and how do I cancel my subscription?

Our policy is that all sales are final. Subscriptions are on an annual basis; not renewing your subscription has the effect of cancelling it.
 


Technical FAQs


  1. What software do I need to install on my computer?  
  2. What are the minimum system requirements?  
  3. What hardware and software do you guys use?  
 
 
 
  1. What software do I need to install on my computer?

None! My Online Home Inventory is a web service, so the only software you need to use it is a web browser, which usually comes with your operating system (OS). If your OS doesn't come with a web browser (or you want to upgrade the one your OS comes with), we recommend Firefox. Whichever browser you use, it must support the use of JavaScript 1.1, CSS 2, HTML 4.01, and SSL for security. Cookies (which are used for session handling) must also be enabled. (To ensure standards compliance, all of our HTML and Style Sheets have been tested with the W3C's Validators.)

The web site will scale to work at any screen resolution that is no less than 1024 x 768 pixels in size, but for best results we recommend that your browser window be at least 1280 x 1024 pixels in size.
 
 
  2. What are the minimum system requirements?

The minimum system requirements are dictated by which OS you use.

Windows
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 98SE
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP (Recommended)
  • Windows 2003
  • Windows Vista
Minimum Hardware
  • 233 MHz AMD or Intel processor (Recommended: AMD Athalon 1 GHz or greater)
  • 64 MB of RAM (Recommended: 256 MB of RAM or greater)

Solaris x86
  • Solaris 8
  • Solaris 9
  • Solaris 10 (Recommended)
Minimum Hardware
  • 233 MHz AMD or Intel processor (Recommended: AMD Opteron 1 GHz or greater)
  • 128 MB of RAM (Recommended: 512 MB of RAM or greater)

Solaris SPARC
  • Solaris 8
  • Solaris 9
  • Solaris 10 (Recommended)
Minimum Hardware
  • 250 MHz UltraSPARC-II processor (Recommended: UltraSPARC-III 750 MHz or greater)
  • 256 MB of RAM (Recommended: 512 MB of RAM or greater)

Mac OS
  • Mac OS X 10.2 and later
Minimum Hardware
  • Macintosh computer with Intel x86 or PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 processor
  • 128 MB of RAM (Recommended: 256 MB of RAM or greater)

Other Platforms

Although we haven't tested it, My Online Home Inventory should work with no problems on various Linux distributions, *BSD, and your cell phone. We've made My Online Home Inventory browser agnostic by sticking to open web standards, so chances are if your browser works, My Online Home Inventory will work.
 
 
  3. What hardware and software do you guys use?

My Online Home Inventory is implemented on state of the art hardware from Sun Microsystems. We're currently using a Sun Fire X4200 with two 2.6 GHz AMD Opteron 252 processors, 2 GB of RAM, and four SAS hard drives. We believe in generously specifying our servers, so we'll add more RAM, disk space, and CPU power long before we need it.

Our software stack is also state of the art. We're using Apache 2, PHP 5, and PostgreSQL 8, on top of the highly capable, secure, and scalable Solaris 10, also from Sun. For maximum security and performance, we make extensive use of Solaris 10's Zones and ZFS features.

Our machine is hosted in a professionally managed data centre, with multiply redundant high speed Internet connections, air conditioning, and backup power sources. For maximum security, access to the data centre is restricted using multiple-factor authentication.
 

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