With the hurricanes, floods and earthquakes happening weekly, I thought it might be a good time to share about how important having an home inventory is for everyone. My sister and I put together a fact sheet on home inventories for our clients about five years ago. Remind your family and friends so they are prepared if necessary.
Having your home contents insured is very important. Having a detailed record of everything that you own is a must. Should you ever need to file a claim; the insurance adjuster will expect you to submit a list of all damaged belongings, complete with purchase dates, purchase prices, brand names, model numbers, receipts and photos. If you can't provide this information, your claim may be denied, and that's not what you've been paying those hefty premiums for! Protect yourself (and your belongings) by completing a full home inventory and updating it annually.
Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. More than half of Americans don't have a home inventory of their possessions. Putting them at risk for inadequate home insurance coverage, should severe weather strike.
1. Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals.
2. For clothing, count the items you own by category pants, coats, shoes, for example - making notes about those that are especially valuable.
3. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.
4. If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you've been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it's better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about older possessions.
5. Valuable items like jewelry, artwork and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.
6. Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos note what is shown, where you bought each item, and the make. Don't forget things that are in closets or drawers.
7. Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or, do the same thing using a tape recorder.
8. Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowner’s room-by-room inventory program.
9. Regardless of how you do it (written list, flash drive, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend's or relative's home. That way you'll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
Creating Your Inventory
You can list your items by category, or by room. For many items like books, CDs, bed sheets or pots and pans, you can make a general estimate of how many you have. For expensive items, note the make and model, the store where the item was purchased and the approximate date.
Want to learn more? Let us talk!
Valerie Bomberger, ABR Michigan Realtor
Mobile /Text (269) 208-4750