A good friend of mine recently lost her home to a fire that destroyed her house and personal belongings. While old keepsakes like pictures, family heirlooms, etc are priceless and can never be replaced there are items that can be replaced in the event of a loss.
We have taken pictures of our home and belongings to document what we have in the event we are ever unfortunate to have a loss whether it be a fire or otherwise. Not only are these pictures stored on our computer they are also stored on an online photo site. You can set the privacy settings where only you can see them. You can store the pictures on a photo sharing site such as Google Picasa. This way we will be able to get access to them on a timely basis without having to depend on being able to get to where our backups are stored offsite.
When dealing with insurance companies documentation is important. Receipts for purchases can be destroyed in a fire. We have scanned receipts which are backed up and also saved as picture files like other pictures. These are also put on our online photo site should we ever need them. It is also a good idea to have a written list of major purchases such as furniture and televisions in the event of a loss. A good site for this is Know Your Stuff. Your data is stored on their site so in the event of a loss, your data is not on your computer which could be lost when disaster strikes. While this is not a blog on how to handle insurance claims, insurance adjusters have told me to also take pictures after the damage before you begin to cleanup.
Hopefully you will never need these pictures but if you do and also do what my wife and I do, your documentation will help to more favorably expedite your insurance claim.