Since having our house broken into, I’ve been evangelizing three things: back up computers offsite, buy replacement-value insurance, and make a household inventory. I hope your home is never broken into, but if it is, too, life will be a little easier if you’ve done these things.
We all know that we should back up our computers, but not all of us do it. I’ve been guilty of it myself more often than not. However, thanks to my husband, I had two backups, using Apple’s Time Capsule and CrashPlan’s family unlimited plan ($5/month)—so I didn’t lose data when my computer was stolen. However, I also got lucky. The people who broke into our house didn’t take the Time Capsule or the Apple Mini with my CrashPlan backup. If they had, I would have been screwed. (My Carbon Copy Cloner backup to an external hard drive, which Jeff gave me for backing up, was months out of date. When the software got wonky, I gave up in frustration. This is what I typically when I have computer problems, much to both our frustration.)
Now I’m preaching offsite backup. My Mozy online backup (2GB free) was incomplete and out of date. I was also months behind in uploading my photos to SmugMug. (I pay for this service, which retains images at full size. If you want to join, the referral code qq2upFAqbRWVc will give you a $5 discount.) We’ve also bought some 1.5TB SATI drives, so we can take backups to work.
Something else I knew I was supposed to do and never bothered to do: Walk around the house with a digital camera or camcorder and take pictures of everything. Because I never got around to doing a household inventory, I doubt we’ll ever know everything that’s missing.
One thing I got right: We have replacment-value renters’ insurance and had a rider for my wedding and engagement rings (the main policy covers only $1,000 of jewelry) with USAA. If you have a parent who served in the military, you’re eligible to join this financial services organization, and I highly recommend that you do. We also have car insurance through USAA. Over the past eight years, I’ve been in two car accidents and our house has been broken into twice. Each time, USAA has been great. (Because neither accident was my fault, I’ve unfortunately had to deal with other insurance companies, which has not been as pleasant). USAA already paid me for my rings, but as I told the rep, I’ll gladly give the money back if my rings are recovered—about a one in a million chance.
Out of all of this, if you do nothing else, please, please back up your computer. Out of all the wonderful things my husband does for me, at the moment when I heard my laptop was gone, I was most grateful that getting me to back up my computer was one of them.