Do you have a home inventory? Would you be able to list everything that was damaged, destroyed or lost in your house or apartment if you had to file a claim with your insurance company?
Trying to remember everything as you are dealing with the mental trauma of your abode being destroyed is not an easy task. You would have a thousand things on your mind, like finding your most important personal documents and family heirlooms, in addition to trying to arrange a place to live.
But you can avoid this potential distress – and the risk of your insurer disputing or not paying the claim – by preparing a detailed home inventory.
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More than 75% of U.S. homeowners don’t have a home inventory, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. And of those who do have one, they generally don’t keep their records up to date.
Having a home inventory can make filing a claim much easier, and it increases the chances the getting the claim paid, too. Also, if you prepare an inventory it will help you assign value to your possessions, which in turn can help you and the insurer decided how much insurance you actually need.
It may sound like a daunting task to just get started, but fortunately TWS Home Inventory and Asset Management Group has created this handy list to help you take stock of your stuff.
Read your policy and discuss your personal property with us
You need to understand your policy so you can know if you are you covered for the replacement value of your personal property possessions or only actual cash value, or whether you need any special riders or endorsements for specialty items, such as:
- Musical instruments
- Expensive sporting goods like scuba gear or golf clubs
Take photos of the outside of the home
Shoot the property from all sides, including any landscaping, outdoor furniture and accoutrements.
Take photos of each room from all angles
Make sure that your pictures cover every piece of furniture, art and other decorations in every room.
Open every closet, cupboard and drawer
Go through all the places that you keep your possessions and, if you find anything of value, document it. Document when and where you got it and how much you paid for it.
If you haven’t gotten in the habit of doing so, keep receipts for all of your big purchases.
Don’t forget to photograph and document your clothes. If you have any expensive items, like fur coats, business suits or fancy dresses, take separate photos of them.
Note the model, serial number of electronic items
Take pictures and list the details of computers, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, stereo systems, etc.
Pay extra attention to china, crystal and silver
If you have a fancy set of china and cutlery, place it all on a table and take a picture. Take pics of the front and back of your plates, to show the brand name and the pattern.
Cover the garage as well
Often people have more valuables in their garage than any other place in their home. Again take pictures of everything in there – your tools, equipment, sporting goods, bikes, etc.
Photograph family heirlooms
Include rare items you have inherited when taking pictures. Even though insurance can’t replace the sentimental value, it may replace the cost of those items.
Scan all receipts
Get into the habit of scanning your receipts and taking a picture of the item to keep with your receipt. Keep things organized with one folder for each room.
Keep your inventory off-premises
You should have a home inventory at home in a fire-resistant safe, but you should also keep one off your premises in something like a bank lockbox, etc. Also these days it’s quite easy to store a digital copy in the cloud with a free service like dropbox or even better you can create and store it on an app. There are hundreds of apps to choose from and here’s a link to an article we wrote about a few of them.