Last week we discussed what happens when you make a claim on your homeowner's or renter's insurance. If you ever need to replace personal belongings using your homeowner's insurance, you will be asked to supply a list of everything that was lost.
Having a home inventory makes this process much easier. It also gives you an accurate view of the value of everything in your home so you can ensure you are carrying the right amount of coverage. Create a home inventory as soon as possible. The last thing you want to do after your home burns down is waste time trying to remember everything you've lost.
A home inventory makes it easy to identify what you still have and what is missing.
How to Create a Home Inventory
Take it one step at a time – Listing everything you own can take a lot of time and effort. Start with something simple, one shelf in the garage, or the coat closet. Tackle one small area of your house a week until your inventory is complete.
You Don't Have to List all the Small Stuff – List things like clothing, shoes, dishes, and silverware by category — for example, 10 t-shirts, 50 books, etc.
Provide purchase information – You won't be able to remember all the details of every purchase you've ever made. Do your best to write down the make and model, and include what you paid for each item. For larger, more expensive items, list the serial number as well.
Pay Close Attention to Valuables – If you have expensive jewelry or other valuables, you may be a candidate for additional coverage. Give us a call, and we can help you decide if it's necessary. Make sure to keep receipts, jewelry appraisals, bills of sale, etc. for expensive items and save them with your home inventory so you can provide proof of purchase if asked.
Include Items Not in Your Home – Don't forget to inventory your yard, garage, and any offsite storage you use. These items are likely covered under your homeowner's policy, and you would want to replace them if anything happened.
Update Periodically – Maintaining your home inventory takes a little bit of work. Sit down once a month and record new purchases, remove items you no longer have, and keep your list up to date.
Using an excel sheet, home inventory app, or recording the items in your home with photos or video can save you time and make this process much easier. However you decide to create your home inventory, make sure you store it in a safe location. You don't want a house fire to destroy everything you own along with the proof that you owned it. Store the file on a jump drive in your safety deposit box or the cloud so you can access it online.
It's never fun to imagine the possibility of losing your home or belongings, but we want you to prepared just in case the unthinkable happens. Having a home inventory is an excellent step towards making the claims process as painless as possible.