Why Do You Need a Home Inventory List?
If disaster struck your home would you know what you owned? Even though it can take years to collect your possessions, they could be gone in a split second following a disaster like fire, tornado, hurricane.
Allied Trust Insurance Company recommends that you compile a list of your belongings to ensure the proper coverage. If your home is damaged or destroyed an up-to-date home inventory can help make the possible recovery process easier on you and your family.
A home inventory list provides you with a safety net in case your valuables are stolen or damaged. Sure, we’ve all misplaced something in our homes (your favorite shirt disappears or you can’t find the book you were reading), or broken things on occasion (various dishes and glassware over the years), but we are talking about your big-ticket items like expensive electronics and jewelry. When these items are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll want to file a homeowners insurance claim. If your property is well documented, it will speed the process and ensure you don’t forget to make claims on any of your valuable items.
Use a spreadsheet, list, photos and video
To start, begin making a spreadsheet of everything in your home you want insured. Be specific in your written inventory. Include make, model, serial numbers, receipts, credit card statements, value and date of purchase when possible.
A good way to figure out what you really own is to go from room to room with a video camera. Record the contents of each room in your home, including drawers, shelves and closets. Start in one corner and work your way around. Be sure to take close-up shots to capture all the details. Narrate while you are at it. Make verbal notes, about special items. Be sure to include things like serial numbers, manufacturer and model. It’s also helpful to save receipts or credit card statements to show how much you paid for the items. Using photos or video is also a good way to prove ownership.
Once you’ve created your home inventory, make sure to update it as you acquire or get rid of items over time.
Consider professional appraisals
For higher-end items such as jewelry, artwork, antiques or collectibles, you may want to have a professional do an appraisal. Keep the appraisal as well as the appraiser’s name and address in your files.
Store in a safe place
Finally, be sure to keep your records in safe place. They won’t do you any good if they are stolen along with your valuables, or destroyed in a flood or fire. . Keeping them in a safe deposit box is a great option. You may also be able to keep a copy with your insurance agent.
In addition to a paper copy of the list, make sure you have a digital record of your possessions backed up on a cloud storage drive like Mozy, Dropbox or Google Drive. You can even look into smartphone apps or websites like knowyourstuff.org, which are designed to take a home inventory, complete with photos and detailed descriptions. If you’re ever the victim of a robbery or natural disaster, a home inventory checklist can speed up the process of restoring your possessions, or at least the value of the items you lost.