Why do I need a home inventory?

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Why do I need a home inventory?

Let’s start with a pop quiz: How many televisions do you have in your home? Answering this question shouldn’t have caused you much stress. You can go room by room in your mind and count them up. But what if we asked you for the make and model of each TV, or the combined value of all the televisions in your home? Do you have any idea? Do you even know the make, model, and value of just one of your televisions?

Don’t feel bad if you can’t answer that last string of questions, as more than half of all home-owning or home-renting Americans can’t either. In fact, a 2013 study found that less than 40 percent of homeowners or renters maintain a home inventory of all their possessions, while the rest remain unaware of the value, or even quantity, of what they own.

What this really means is that over 60 percent of owners or renters are unprepared in the event their possessions are stolen or destroyed, and if you struggled to answer the questions above you’re likely among that majority.

Getting started

The Erie Insurance agents at Foundation Insurance Group, representing the greater Louisville, Kentucky metro area are here to help. Let’s start with a definition. A home inventory is a list of all your possessions, their age, and value. We all hope to never have to use this document, but we’ll be glad to have one if disaster ever strikes.

Let’s say a fire engulfed your home and reduced everything inside it to ash, including the television in your living room. If you can’t prove that the television was 70 inches and cost $2,000, it may be replaced by a 55-inch TV worth significantly less.

Now let’s say you have photos of the television from before the fire, or better yet, the original receipt. If that’s the case, you’re immediately more likely to have that television replaced in full, and you might even receive a newer, better TV.

Are you starting to see the value of a home inventory? It shouldn’t be considered a chore, but rather a lifeline when times are at their worst that will help make you whole again.

However, just as important as having a home inventory is having one that’s thorough and up-to-date. With that in mind, here are some tips for drafting the best possible inventory:

  • Too much is better than not enough: It may seem silly at the time, but it’s better to “go overboard” when forming your inventory than it is to be cavalier about the process. If you own a bookshelf, don’t just log the brand and value of the bookshelf, but also an exact tally of how many books you keep on it, hard cover or paperback, and even the titles of those books.
  • Embrace your inner Spielberg: This is the 21st century, and taking quality photos and video is easier than ever before. That’s why it’s always worth it to take photos of every room in your house to prove your ownership of certain high-priced belongings (antiques, special collections, expensive jewelry, etc.). A video tour of your home is just as good. Be sure to capture the brands of items in these photos or videos whenever possible.
  • Do your research: Be sure you know how much these items cost, especially the larger items, and when possible try and record how long you’ve owned an item in your inventory. These are additional context clues that can make restoring order to your home and to your life that much easier.
  • Keep Receipts: It’s much easier to prove ownership if you have the receipts. Keep a special file for all items purchased that would need replacing. And, keep it off-site, in a safety deposit box or other secure location outside of your home.
  • Stay current: Be sure to constantly update your inventory with every major purchase you make. After all, disaster can strike at any time, and procrastinating on tasks like this only leaves you more vulnerable.

You never know if and when a burglary or natural disaster might happen, and as we’ve recently seen flooding, wildfires, tornadoes and other events can occur with little or no notice. The insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group in St Matthews, Kentucky are always here to assist you. We’ll review your current homeowners policy, answer your questions and concerns, and partner with you to protect your home and property.   Your belongings are important to you and to us, so do all you can to protect them from the worst this world can throw your way. The task of drafting a home inventory may seem overwhelming and unnecessary, but a small sacrifice of time now can mean peace of mind in the long run.

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