You have worked hard for the things you have and want to protect your investments. Will you be able to recall everything that you have bought in the past ten years? A home inventory can help you file a claim.
If you are like many Americans, you have been meaning to create a home inventory to catalogue your belongings in case of fire, flood or other catastrophe. Sure, there are checklists available to make it a bit easier but finding the time to do a walk through and create the lists can be a challenge. Here are 5 tips to make it easier for you to get started…
USE VIDEO & PHOTO
Beginning the inventory process can be simplified by making good use of your mobile phone. There is an abundance of home inventory applications available through iTunes and Google Play. Many of them are free. They all offer a way of cataloguing contents of your home with descriptions, images and values.
If you are not sold on the idea of using an app to summarize your household contents, then consider making a 360-degree video of each room. Be sure to include content of closets, attic and basement, as well as special items such as jewelry, artwork and electronics. Both methods will prove to be useful if you need to file a claim.
USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Many Insurance providers offer tools to make tracking your belongings easier. Whether a home inventory checklist or a handwritten list of high-value items, cataloguing your items will reduce the stress of filing a claim in the event of a loss. To make this process easier join forces with your spouse, adult child or trusted friend.
Divide and conquer, with each person covering a room or set of rooms. You may also to opt to work as a pair, with one person calling out the items, including serial numbers and model numbers, while the other records the information. Either way, it will make the task less daunting when a team approach is used.
SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS
Many homeowner policies of replacement cost coverage. To gauge the proper costs associated with lost items, keep a file of your receipts along with the manual showing model number and/or serial number. Often times we neglect adding new purchases to an existing home inventory list. By using this filing system, you will be sure to have all of the information necessary to file a claim should tragedy occur before you’ve had a chance to update your inventory checklist.
SEPARATE VALUABLE ITEMS LIST
Whether or not you have separate insurance policies for your more valuable items, you will want to keep a separate inventory of these items. In times of distress, it will be difficult to remember all of the costly treasured you have amassed over the years. Remember to include items such as: Jewelry and engagement rings; Silverware, china and crystal; Antiques; Fine art; Stamp and coin collections; Bicycles; Trophies; Sound equipment (recorders); Sports equipment (archery, camping, fishing, skiing); Wedding gifts; Cameras; Computers; Musical instruments; Golf Equipment; Furs; Firearms; Pedigreed dogs; Garden tractors and Political campaign collections.
Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for these items as they may need to be insured separately. Consider putting jewelry or other valuables that you don’t often wear or use in a safe deposit box.
MAKE A COPY
Once you have completed your home inventory list (remember a partial or incomplete list is better than none at all) you will want to keep it safe. If you have the inventory recorded digitally, consider using cloud storage to keep it “offsite” but accessible if or when you need it.
If you do not have access to cloud storage options back up digital files on a thumb drive and save handwritten files safely outside of your home. Consider a locked box at your office, or a safe deposit box through your local financial institution.