When was the last time you updated your home inventory?

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When was the last time you updated your home inventory?

You may think you know exactly what’s in your home, but accurately listing and evaluating your personal property from memory may be a lot harder than you think. And, it’s crucial to have these details when you file an insurance claim.  In times of stress, your memory is often a poor substitute for having a complete list of all your property from large items, like furniture and appliances, to items you don’t really think about, like flooring, fixtures, and window treatments, to those Items tucked away in drawers and boxes which could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So as winter and the holidays disappear in your rear view mirror, it’s time to update your home inventory.

You may be asking: Why would I ever need to know what’s inside each of my rooms, closets, basement, and drawers?  A catastrophe can strike anyone, and in the event of a fire, water damage or burglary, you need to know exactly what was lost to make an insurance claim. This is where your home inventory becomes invaluable. A home inventory is an important tool when determining both the value of your belongings and your homeowners insurance needs. It acts as an up-to-date checklist so that you can assess what possessions may have been lost or damaged. You are already suffering the heartache of loss.  With comprehensive documentation, you’ll be able to settle insurance claims quickly and efficiently.

To create a home inventory, you can keep a running log on paper, create a spreadsheet, use a secure online home inventory tool, like knowyourstuff.org, or upload photos and videos to a cloud site like box.net. In many cases, it’s best to use a combination of the above.  In the event that you’re faced with a loss, you will have both a written and visual account of your items.

Capture it with a camera or video

It’s always best to memorialize your possessions on video.  Having photos or videos of your more expensive items is a smart idea since it can be difficult to get the full value for them if you don’t have proof of their worth. If you have an antique clock, for example, snap a photo of it. This will be much more descriptive than having “clock” written down as a line item on your inventory. It establishes additional documentation of your home and personal belongings for insurance purposes.  Although the recording alone may not be enough to prove the loss of valuable items, it can be used as evidence in case of theft, fire or damage. Your home inventory recording should include:

  • Complete scans of all rooms, closets, outside grounds, attic, basement, storage units and garage.
  • Close-ups of all valuable items such as artwork, jewelry and antiques (zoom in on serial numbers on stereos, television sets, computers, and other electronic appliances).
  • Audio commentary of details that may not be visually apparent.
  • Store the tape or media card, along with your comprehensive written list, in a safe place away from home, such as a locked file cabinet at your office or your bank safe-deposit box. For extra safety, you may want to make copies and store them in separate places.

It is also a good idea to keep a spreadsheet or paper list with additional information about each item, especially electronics, collectables, firearms, jewelry, and other valuables as well as photos and video. This may include things like a written description, the date of purchase, the price paid and, if applicable, a model name and serial number. Take note of any details that may help you later identify the belonging if needed. Always keep receipts and store them with your home inventory.

Also, be sure to update your home inventory over time and make the necessary amendments after a large purchase or at least one time each year. Though initially time consuming, a home inventory is a simple, effortless way to keep track of your possessions and offer peace of mind that your valuables will be accounted for in an unfortunate circumstance.

Contact Foundation Insurance Group

The experienced insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group, located in Falls Church, Virginia, and St. Matthews, Kentucky are always available to review your current homeowners insurance policy, make suggestions to limit your exposure, and answer any questions you might have.  Contact our Virginia or Kentucky office today.

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