We all hope we’ll never have to file an insurance claim on our home, but the recent fire in Superior and Louisville was a reminder that bad things can happen in an instant. If you’re prepared with a home inventory, it can help make things go more smoothly if disaster strikes and you have to replace everything.
One simple way to create an inventory of your belongings is to do a video walk through of your home. Press record on your cell phone or camera and walk from room to room panning over your belongings. You can narrate what you’re looking at and open any cupboards or drawers where valuables might be kept. Once you have a video of your possessions, be sure to upload it to cloud storage or email it to yourself or someone you trust to ensure you can still access it if something happens to your phone or camera.
Another option is to fill out a Home Inventory Checklist. If you want a more itemized list that you can easily add and remove items from, you can download an app to help you create an inventory. Some options include Home Contents or Everspruce. Both apps have a free version, or you can elect to pay a fee to unlock additional features.
Here are some tips from the Insurance Information Institute for creating a list of your belongings:
- Pick an easy spot to start – A contained area—like your small kitchen appliance cabinet, your sporting equipment closet or your handbag shelf—is a great place to get started.
- List recent purchases – Another way to start is with recent purchases—get into the inventory habit and then go back tackle your older possessions.
- Include the basic information – In general, describe each item you record, and note where you bought it, the make and model, what you paid and any other detail that might help in the event you need to make a claim.
- Count clothing by general category – For example, “5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of sneakers…” Make note of any items that are especially valuable.
- Record serial numbers – Usually found on the back or bottom of major appliances and electronic equipment, serial numbers are a useful reference.
- Check coverage on big ticket items – Jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value and may need special coverage separate from your standard homeowners insurance policy. While you’re making your home inventory list, check with your agent to make sure you have adequate insurance for these items before there is a loss.
- Don’t forget off-site items – Your belongings kept in a self-storage facility are covered by your homeowners insurance, too. Make sure you include them in your inventory.
- Keep proof of value – Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals with your list.
- Add significant new purchases to your list – Make it a habit to add the item information and receipts to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
- Store a copy of your paper inventory outside the home – Keep it—along with applicable receipts and appraisals—in a safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. Make at least one backup copy of your inventory document and store it separately. An easy way to make digital backup copies of your paper list is to take pictures of it on your smartphone.
How to create a home inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory
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