In the event of property damage or loss in your home, you don’t want to be left trying to remember all the items you own. Having an up to date home inventory is the best way to ensure you will receive compensation from insurance for all your possessions. Creating your inventory may seem like a tedious or daunting task, but getting it started may just be the hardest part. Luckily, there are a whole host of apps, and online forms and tools that do a lot of the work for you. Here are some simple steps to help you finally check that home inventory off your to-do list.
CHOOSE YOUR FORMAT:
- If you’d like to use a simple worksheet look at your insurer’s website or use one of these:
- Technology has allowed for some great ways to store and keep track of your possessions. The Insurance Information Institute has a free app called Know Your Stuff that is highly rated and easy to use. There are many other apps available offering a variety of features and organizational options. A simple search will give you some top-rated apps that you can choose from to accommodate your needs and how detailed you want to be.
MAKE A LIST OF YOUR POSSESSIONS:
- Concentrate on one room at a time. Take photos or video as you go.
- Larger items or items of greater value should have notes including quantity, serial number, model, year purchased, and cost. If you are unsure of the price, look online for comparable items.
- Smaller items can be grouped together and described generally like kitchen utensils, books, or clothing. Be sure to make note of any more valuable items.
- Don’t forget to check closets, attics, basements, garages, sheds, or other storage areas. Most insurance policies also cover off-site storage so be sure to include those items as well.
- Keep all store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals for further documentation.
- Get an appraisal of all items with a greater value such as jewelry, antiques, art, and high-end electronics. Document these items thoroughly by providing make, model, serial number, purchase date & location, along with multiple photographs.
- Take video using a digital camera or smartphone. Walk through each room describing the contents as you go. Be sure to open closets, drawers, and don’t forget areas like the attic, basement, or laundry room.
- Take pictures. Include individual items as well as entire rooms. Label pictures with a description of what is pictured, where you bought it, make or model, and serial number.
- If you choose to use an app, they will help you to create, organize, and store a room-by-room record of your possessions using video and pictures.
- Safekeeping of your documents, video, and pictures is vital. There are many options including saving your inventory to the cloud, emailing it to yourself as an attachment, or storing it with Google Docs. Of course, you can always print copies or keep it on a digital storage device then stow it in a safe-deposit box, fireproof safe, or even swap your list with family or friends.
Having an up to date home inventory is an important step in being prepared should an emergency arise. With a detailed list of your possessions, insurance claims are settled more quickly, losses can be verified for tax purposes, and you can be sure you have the proper insurance coverage you need. Give yourself greater peace of mind and less hassle in the future by getting your home inventory organized today.
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