Why You Should Keep a Record of Device Serial Numbers

September 12, 2016 - 4 minutes read

contentsWhen it comes to break-ins and burglaries that result in loss of building contents, the more information you can provide your insurer the faster your claim is likely to proceed. Also when it comes to electronic equipment in particular, keeping a record of serial numbers is very important for protection of assets.

In this article we provide tips on what records you should keep on your contents and also outline a case study that shows the benefits of keeping track of serial numbers.

Tips for building contents

Maintain an up-to-date inventory list of items of value:

Keep a comprehensive list of your contents, and don’t forget to update it as you make purchases or dispose of items. It should be kept in a secure place such as a safe (for a hard copy), and / or an electronic copy, preferably on a backup storage device or in cloud storage.

The list should include as much information as possible on each item, such as location, description, quantity, replacement cost (with a similar item), and serial numbers for electronic equipment and software packages if relevant.

Note that rare or expensive items may also need proof of value with a professional appraisal or valuation certificate.

To provide an example, a typical list for a church organisation might include:

  • Musical instruments.
  • Furniture – including desks and office furniture.
  • Kitchen appliances and equipment.
  • Computer equipment / laptops, software packages, and workplace smartphones and tablets.
  • Office equipment such as photocopiers and printers.
  • Other electronic equipment such as televisions, DVD and / or CD players.
  • Portable heating and cooling equipment.
  • Overhead projectors.
  • Still and video cameras.
  • Artefacts, rare items, artworks.
  • Gardening equipment, tools and ladders.
  • Indoor rugs.
  • Bibles and other books.
  • Children’s play equipment.
  • Cleaning equipment.
  • Theatre props.

Keeping a list also enables you to check which items are missing following a burglary, and avoid failing to claim for a stolen item because you didn’t realise it had been taken.

To make this easier and help get you started we have provided a contents inventory form template on the website – scroll down under the ‘forms’ section.

Keep evidence of purchase for bigger items:

For example –

  • Original receipts and / or delivery dockets from the time of purchase.
  • Photos or videos of the item (such as from a church newsletter or website image showing the item in place).
  • Valuation certificates for rare or expensive items.

If you lodge a claim and are unable to locate paperwork, you may be able to track proof of purchase, such as through your PayPal history, or credit card or bank statements. However keeping records in the first place can make the claims process much easier and faster and much less stressful.

Case study on serial numbers

Serial numbers are essentially unique identification codes usually found on the back or underside of a hardware device such as a computer. They help with tracking an item and also providing useful information such as when sourcing replacements or compatible parts. Serial numbers can also sometimes be assigned to software packages.

A CCI client in South Australia recently suffered a break-in and burglary in which a number of electronic items were taken. Fortunately the client had kept a record of all device serial numbers, and as a result was able to track down and recover most of the stolen pieces of equipment.

This certainly highlights the benefit of keeping detailed records as part of your church risk management policy – you never know when you might need them!

Written by Tess Oliver



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