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How photos on your phone can be a lifesaver

How photos on your phone can be a lifesaver
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Travel and tech expert Maurice Freedman explains how your photo library can serve as your file cabinet, GPS, legal backup and more, but does offer this word of caution: “Remember that anything you photograph doesn’t just live on your phone – in many cases, those photos are simultaneously shared with all of your devices and the cloud, so strong passwords are key to privacy and security.”

Rental car

Rental car
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“I take photos of rental cars – before and after I rent them – so that if I’m ever charged with damages, I have images that are time/location stamped,” says Freedman. “Bumpers – especially the corners – are very commonly scratched or damaged, and cost a ton to repair.”

Finding your car

Finding your car
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Freedman calls this his “old man trick.” He takes a picture of where he parked his car – especially rentals – and preferably, with the car in the photo. “There’s nothing like aimlessly walking around a massive parking lot, especially when I have no idea what kind of car I was even driving.”

Licence plate and VIN number

Licence plate and VIN number
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Can you recite your licence plate number by heart? Many people can’t, so having a photo avoids having to run back and check when you’re paying to park at a pay station. In the not-so-fun scenario that your car goes missing, having the plate number and VIN number on hand will allow you to inform the police as quickly as possible.

Driver’s licence

Driver’s licence
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If you lose your wallet, you’ve also lost your valid photo ID. Having this as a backup while you wait for a replacement will solve some headaches.

Read on to find out how thieves steal your identity.

Passport

Passport
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When heading to international destinations, having a photocopy and photo of your passport will make it a lot easier to get to your country’s embassy and prove your citizenship.

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Car insurance details

Car insurance details
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You don’t want to be in a car without insurance details in case of an accident. Even if you keep the proof in your car, is it the latest, up-to-date version? Plus: having to dig through your glove compartment while dealing with physical injuries or emotional shakeups is no fun.

Don’t miss these secret car-buying tips your dealer won’t tell you.

Health insurance details

Health insurance details
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If you’ve ever accidentally given an expired insurance card or didn’t have your card on hand for an emergency room visit, you know the unpleasant process of figuring out what the mix-up is, or worse: having to explain the issue to billing agents trying to collect money you don’t owe.

Printer model number

Printer model number
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Do you know what is more annoying than running out of ink when you really need to print something out? Going to Officeworks and realising that there are about 15 printers that look exactly like yours. Do yourself a favour and snap a pic of your model and serial number.

Computer serial number

Computer serial number
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“A serial number is a unique, identifying number or group of numbers and letters assigned to an individual piece of hardware or software,” reports Tim Fisher for Lifewire. “The idea behind serial numbers is to identify a specific item, much like how a fingerprint identifies a specific person. Instead of some names or numbers that specify a whole range of products, a serial number is intended to provide a unique number to one device at a time.”

Having a photo of yours will make it easier to report if your device gets stolen. Also, if you’re making a call to technical support, you will likely need this info, which is typically printed microscopic type. Take a picture and zoom in, rather than trying to find a magnifying glass or a pair of young eyes. This goes for any major appliance. (After it caught fire is not when you want to look for the serial number.)

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Dear readers,
Please be advised that our shipment of the June issue of Reader’s Digest Asia in Hong Kong has been delayed by approximately seven days. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Kind regards, Reader’s Digest Editors