Right now could you list everything in your home and it's value? Now consider the same question under the stress of a devastating loss due to a burglary, fire, flood, or other natural disaster. Even if you do manage to recall most of your belongings, how confident are you that your current insurance policy will cover your loss? Unfortunately, these are the first questions you will be forced to answer when filing a claim, under such unfavorable circumstances. An accurate home inventory, or complete list of all of your belongings in your home and their value, can help determine if you have the right insurance protection, and in the event of a loss, it can make filing a claim easier.
How to Create a home inventory
- Organization is the key. You can create your own list using a spreadsheet or use a home inventory checklist found online.
- Go from room-to-room and document all of your belongings in detail. Include an item description (make, model, serial number), value or purchase price, and date of purchase.
- Pay special attention to your more valuable belongings, such as jewelery, art, antiques, and collectables. Having such items appraised could benefit you in the long run.
- Include any receipts that you may have.
- Visual documentation is also important. Take photographs of each item included in your inventory or video a walk-through of your home focusing on said items.
- Utilizes your smart phone or tablet. Send pictures or videos taken with your smart phone or tablet to your email for added backup. There are also several apps and other online tools available that can help organize your inventory.
- Update your inventory from time to time and add any new purchases.
What to do after you have created your inventory
- When you have completed your portfolio, contact your insurance company to determine if you have adequate coverage. At this point the bulk of the work is done but if your current insurance policy does not cover all the items on your list, it's better to know now then later.
- If your home is robbed or damaged by a flood, fire, etc., your home inventory could be your greatest asset, therefore where you choose to store your inventory is important. Any secure location other than your home is ideal for hard copies, such as a bank safe deposit box. Online tools offer web storage, you can scan your inventory to make a digital copy or simply email it to yourself.
Benefits of having a home inventor
- Peace of mind- You can be confident in knowing that you are properly insured if and when necessary and you will be protected from further financial devastation.
- Speeds up the insurance claim process- You are prepared and have all the information your insurance company will need for a claim, which could be priceless in the event of a devastating loss.
- Moving- You already have a detailed list of all of your belongings so you will know if something was left behind.
- Legal Matters- An up-to-date home inventory can be useful when making ones will, or dividing assets during a divorce.