Do you love your home and value your belongings?
Whether, condo, townhouse, apartment or house, you have spent time and money getting the furnishings, artwork, appliances and electronics just right. Any damage, theft or loss of these items should be covered on your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. How will you identify each of these items should a claim be necessary? Will you remember the purchase price or appraised value? You might not realize you have lost a possession until you go to use it. Now is the time to take a home inventory!
Your insurance provides compensation for the loss or damage to your personal possessions. If you ever need to submit a claim against your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance having an up-to-date, accurate home inventory can ensure that most of your items will be replaced. Taking time to complete this now allows you to: establish coverage amounts needed; verify your losses to settle your claim quickly at the time of need; verify losses for your income tax showing your deductible; and identify items not covered by your insurance.
With your home inventory done, you don’t have to remember or guess. You have a record of everything you own, and can easily submit it to your insurance carrier. It makes the claims process calmer for everyone and assists the process in a stressful situation. Sit back and relax, knowing you are covered if your possessions are ever lost, damaged or stolen.
How to prepare your home inventory:
The most important part of a home inventory is to list and photograph (if possible) all your possessions, including a description of the item, any serial numbers or model numbers, and a monetary value of the item. This is important because if you have a rider on your policy called “Replacement Cost” you want to be sure that you receive a new item of like kind and quality. This is an additional insurance rider that you pay a small additional premium for that you should be very sure you have on your insurance. If you do not, the insurance company will depreciate your loss item and take your policy deductible before they pay out your claim on that item, which will probably make it so you will not get enough money to replace your possession.
You will probably find that when you do a home inventory, your personal belongings are usually being worth more than you realize – $20,000, $40,000 – maybe even more. It’s important to know how much, and to know exactly what you have, in case you ever need to file a personal property claim with your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance carrier.
For first time renters or homebuyers, this home inventory is usually quite simple. Homeowners who have lived in their home for many years, this might seem like a daunting task. Most insurance companies have created a home inventory app that you can either put on either your smart phone or iPad. This app could make it much easier to complete your home inventory. Using this device you will be able to take pictures or do a talking video of each room in your home. These pictures or video should clearly focus on the valuables that are insured and be sure they are listed on the inventory document. You should make an effort every year to update this inventory to adjust for any possessions that you have purchased or sold.
If you prefer not to use digital equipment to prepare your home inventory, you could use the “old school approach” by writing everything down. Be sure to include pictures and appraisals of valuable items.
These are important items to be sure to include in your home inventory:
Record serial or model numbers
- Record the serial or model numbers of your electronic equipment, small and large appliances. If your policy includes replacement cost coverage, your insurance company will need this information to estimate the cost of a suitable replacements for your possession.
Summarize multiple items
- You do not need to record every item of clothing, every kitchen item, every screwdriver and wrench, and every book or movie you own. Count your items and record the totals. If you have expensive items such as expensive kitchen items, designer clothing or quality tools, you should still list those separately.
- Do note: if any of these items are used for business purposes they will not be covered on your personal insurance policy.
Take photos or videos
- Videotaping your home by walking and narrating through each room will give you a very complete account of your home belongings. Be sure to open all closets and cabinets and describe what is in them. In your narrating, be sure to note any serial numbers, date of purchase and amount paid for the item. If you are videoing sets of china or silverware, make sure to include the number of items in the set, age of the item and where it was purchased. To make this easier, you could set up a place setting and then tell how many settings you have.
- If you are doing a written inventory, be sure that you are taking pictures and on the back of the pictures be sure to note your possessions like you would if you were videotaping.
Schedule your expensive belongings
- Do you own one-of-a-kind artwork, expensive jewelry, valuable music equipment, an extensive collection of Hummel’s, Precious Moments, stamps or coins or extensive electronic equipment? If so, you should get your possessions appraised and added to a schedule on your insurance policy (There is an additional premium for adding these possessions.) you may also need to review these appraised values every couple years and review your coverage with your insurance agent to ensure that your current policy covers any increases in value since you purchased your policy. Otherwise, you may not receive their full worth if you file a claim due to a loss.
Don’t forget to count your possessions in little used areas of your home or in outbuildings either on your property or not.
Looking in your attic, basement, storage unit or shed, you probably have thousands of dollars-worth of gardening equipment, tools, sporting equipment, Christmas and recreational items stored in several different locations. Items stored in storage lockers should be included, too for you have off premise coverage on these items. Review your seldom-used areas and ensure that you have sufficient coverage for on and off-site locations before you need to file a claim. We at Brownell Insurance are glad to review your coverage with you to give you peace of mind.
Store your home inventory safely
If you have a digital inventory, you can store the information on a memory stick or in the cloud. If you do a written inventory, print it and attach your receipts and pictures. Store your inventory in a safety deposit box, a fireproof safe, or with a friend or family member. Choose a convenient location and let others in your immediate family know where your home inventory is located because you will need to update your inventory as you buy and sell items.
Many homeowners and renters do not realize the value of what they own until they do a detailed inventory. Call us at Brownell Insurance Center and discuss your coverage once you complete your home inventory, so that we can review your policy and help you close any coverage gaps you may have.
With a home inventory, you don’t have to remember or guess. You have a record of everything you own, and you can easily submit it to your insurance carrier. It makes the claims process easier for everyone and comes to your aid in a stressful situation. Sit back and relax, knowing you are covered if your possessions are ever lost, damaged or stolen.
Information for this blog came from the insurance websites of :
Travelers – https://www.travelers.com
Safeco – https://www.safeco.com
Hanover – https://www.hanover.com
Digital home inventories are available at: