Let’s try a little exercise: Can you list everything you own from memory? …. Waiting
Didn’t think so.
The fact is most people own more things than they realize. It’s easy to remember the furniture, the computer, the TV. But what about what’s in your closets? Or the things in the garage?
All of it is regarded as personal property for insurance purposes. And if your home is destroyed by fire or some other disaster, having a list of your possessions makes filing a claim easier — and helps you put your life back together quicker.
Why should I complete a home inventory? What’s the best way?
Most homeowners policy have coverage for your personal property with a maximum limit to be paid in a total loss. But this does not mean they will pay you that amount in a total loss. You have to establish what was destroyed. The easiest way to establish what you own is to have a home inventory. The best way take an inventory is to use a video camera, recording and describing items as you walk through your house. Open drawers and closets. Anything in the attic? Or, you can use a regular camera and create a home inventory checklist.
Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:
Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items. Serial numbers are helpful to note.
Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
Store your video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.
Though the task may seem daunting, it’s important to try. An incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all.
How much insurance do I need?
For most people, the amount of personal property insurance that is automatically provided by your homeowners policy is enough. But you should compare what you think it would take to replace everything in your home with what your policy provides.
Finally, remember your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, furs, and art , only up to a set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage.
The Insurance Information Institute has a FREE online tool that can help you create your inventory. Just visit www.knowyourstuff.org for more details. They have lots of useful stuff on their website.
We hope you’ll never need the home inventory, but preparing for the worst can prevent a lot of hassle later!