While you probably already know the importance of having good homeowner’s insurance coverage to protect your family from financial disaster in the event of an accident or natural desire, there are some personal belongings that simply cannot be replaced with a monetary value, like pictures of family and friends, and important documents. Assuming you are the same as most the average homeowner, these photos and records that are among your most valuable belongings are buried deep within your closet (or perhaps the attic, garage, or any other storage space.) In fact, many people consider these keepsakes to be very valuable and even intend to pass them on to future generations. Storing your family photos and records in a digital archive can ensure they are protected for generations to come.
Digital preservation, also referred to as personal archiving, has become much more common. Building a digital archive can require a good amount of time and effort, especially when the things we are adding to them vary from old photographs to printed documents, so we put together a few recommendations to help you through the process.
There are many different options available for creating a digital archive and understanding each of your options and knowing which ones are best for you can be difficult for a DIYer who is just starting out. Many libraries across the country offer services to help people understand and use a wide range of electronic equipment and software to build their personal virtual archives.
You may need to store just one thumb drive of files, or you may need to preserve entire cabinets filled with old photos and important documents. It is important to know just what you need to get done before you start the process of making your virtual archive. Begin by creating a list of things you want to preserve, including the form of material and where it is currently located. If you have many different types of files you want to preserve or they are located in various places, this checklist will save you time and help keep you organized. This is also a great time to get rid of anything you don’t want to save.
Once you have determined what you will be adding to your virtual archive you will need to gather and store all of them, whether they are still in hard copy or are already digital files, into one space before you begin organizing your digital archive. For your files that are already stored in a digital format, such as on a phone, computer drive, or social media, transfer them all into one place. Then, scan any old pictures and written documents you have that need to be added into your personal archive and save them in the same place as your other files. When saving your files, make sure to label them with descriptive names that follow a similar format, such as “Family_Vacation_2019”, to make finding a specific file easier in the future.
Because a large part of the reason you are creating a digital archive is to protect your files in the future, it is important to ensure you choose the right formats to back up your archive. Even though you will now already have a digital copy of everything you wanted to preserve on your computer, you should still back these files up in at least one other electronic form such as saving them all to a portable hard drive—or better yet a cloud storage. It is recommended that you use multiple backup formats to avoid using a format that depends on technology that could become obsolete in the future. You should also review and update your personal archive annually to make sure the format you chose is still functional.
For added safety, you could make multiple copies of your personal archive and keep them in several different places, such as your home, your car, another family member’s home, or a storage unit. By placing each backup file in a separate location, you protect your files from all being destroyed if disaster hits just one area. Finally, hold onto and preserve your originals. In the end, they simply may be the most well-preserved format after all.
Now that you have preserved some of your most valuable possessions that can’t be replaced, contact our independent insurance agency to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and ensure you have the coverage you need to properly protect your valuables that can be replaced. We will also look over your current policy to see if there are areas where you are paying for unnecessary coverage to help save on your overall premium.