Don’t underestimate the value of the belongings in your home. Take a stroll around your house and try to imagine it stripped of all your belongings. Now, consider the cost to replace every individual object within your home and take into account what you might forget when trying to recall each item from memory. Remembering every piece of furniture seems simple but do you remember every piece of jewelry, clothing or even shoes you own? What about every DVD, CD and book? The task might now seem impossible, given the amount of property in your residence.
After the unfortunate event of a catastrophe, such as a fire, storm or burglary, an inventory list becomes essential in accounting for all of your lost and damaged belongings. It can also be very helpful to your homeowners insurance carrier in the claims process.
When making a claim for property loss in your home, the more evidence and information you can provide about your lost and damaged items, the easier and faster the claims process can be concluded.
Tips for creating your home inventory list:
- Have a system. At first, creating a home inventory might seem like a daunting task. Dividing the list by rooms and/or categories will make the job less intimidating.
- Be specific. Don’t forget to include item details in your descriptions. Simple explanations, such as the make and model of televisions, or the quantity of books on your shelf, can make a difference.
- Record costly items.For big ticket items like jewelry, artwork and/or technology, make sure you have them recorded in your inventory list as well as within your insurance coverage. They may need to be insured separately. Be sure to contact your local agent to understand more about what your individual homeowners policy covers.
- Keep your receipts. Providing this information, such as the date of purchase and cost, makes the process easier for you and your insurance company.
- Take pictures. A snapshot of a room or important individual items can serve as vital, tangible evidence of loss. Taking a video can also serve this purpose.
- Have a backup list. In case your inventory list goes missing or is destroyed, be sure to have a digital copy or keep an extra list in your safety deposit box or at a friend or relative’s house.
- Keep your list current. Once you have compiled your list, do not forget to update it when you bring a new item into your household or remove one.
Smartphone Application for Home Inventory
Several organizations have developed tools for homeowners to catalog a home inventory. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has developed an application for both Android and iPhone, which allows homeowners to walk through their household and snap pictures of rooms and items for inventory. The NAIC app, myHOME Scr.APP.book, allows users to separate items by rooms and categories, as well as add captions to photos which help capture descriptions and serial numbers. Once the items are compiled in an inventory spreadsheet in your phone, the file can be emailed to a safe location or archived as a PDF or e-book.