Why should you complete a home inventory? What’s the best way?
Can you list everything you own from memory?
Most people own more than they realize. While it may be easy to remember the big things like your cars, computers, TVs, and so on, there are usually things you’ll forget, like that holiday china you have stored in the garage or some pairs of shoes.
All of these things are considered part of your personal property when filing an insurance claim. And, if your home is destroyed by a fire or other disaster, having a list of your possessions makes filing a claim easier and will therefore help you put your life back together.
One reason for completing a home inventory is to compare the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy to make sure you have enough insurance to replace those items if they’re lost, stolen, or destroyed.
When disaster strikes, it’s bad enough that something has happened to your valuables but, if you’re not adequately insured, the pain will be that much worse. Therefore, one of the big reasons for completing a home inventory is to ensure that you have adequate coverage.
The second reason, as previously mentioned, is that you likely won’t remember everything you own on a good day, let alone when you’re reeling from some calamity. By putting together a list beforehand, it’s one less thing you need to think about should the worst happen.
The easiest way to take an inventory is to use a video camera, recording and describing items as you walk through your house. Or, you can use a regular camera and create a home inventory checklist.
Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:
- Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially when it comes to large-ticket items. Noting serial numbers can also be helpful.
- Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
- Store your video or photo inventory off-site so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
- Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.
All of this might seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to try. After all, an incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all.
How Much Insurance Do You Need?
We can assist you in analyzing your insurance needs and help you decide how to most effectively protect your personal property. You should consider full-value coverage, which will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings. A standard policy typically covers personal property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial. (For example, a 5-year-old TV is usually worth much less than what it would cost to purchase a new one.)
Finally, remember your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, furs, art and antiques, only up to set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage.
The Insurance Information Institute has a FREE online tool that can help you create your inventory. Just visit www.knowyourstuff.org for more details.
We hope you’ll never need the home inventory, but preparing for the worst can prevent a lot of hassle later!
If you live around the Brookfield, CT area and want to make sure that all of your things are protected, be sure to give us a call today at (203) 775-2564 (because who knows what can happen tomorrow!)