Four Tips For Building A Home Insurance Inventory
Many times homeowners believe they’re covered as long as their policy is enough to replace their home. If that describes you, then you could be leaving a whole lot of assets vulnerable to a fire or natural disaster.
Your home and property include a number of possessions that you might not think about when buying coverage. Using myself as an example, I don’t have any trouble with the big items that I’ve bought over the years — home, television, refrigerator, etc. — but I often have to remind myself that I own a first-run print of hardback books that are now worth about seven times what I originally paid for them.
In other words, it’s worth documenting everything you own — and by everything, we mean EVERYTHING.
As Allstate notes, “If you don’t know the answer to the question, ‘How much are your belongings worth?’ you aren’t alone. According to Allstate’s ‘Protect It or Lose It’ survey of more than 1,000 U.S. homeowners polled in June, 41 percent say they haven’t reassessed the value of their possessions or documented them.”
So if you’re one of the 90 percent surveyed who told Allstate you care about protecting your home and possessions, you need to act. Creating a home inventory is the perfect remedy, but to do it right, you’ll need to document the possession and its value. Here are some tips for doing this effectively.
Build A Visual Record
With the advancement of technology, there has never been a better time for building your home inventory. Using a smartphone, you can record or take pictures of each room in the house to physically document each belonging. If recording, you may want to narrate, discussing every item, noting special features/conditioning, and sharing the value.
Write An Easy-To-Read Checklist
By creating a checklist that can tell you every piece of information you need to know at a glance, it’ll be much easier to prevent yourself from forgetting about something important. As Allstate notes, “In your checklist, you should include the type of item, its original price (including the receipt, if possible), the year you purchased it and its serial number, in addition to any other pertinent information. Once you finalize your inventory, you should make sure to store it in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box.”
Take Advantage Of Our Digital World
We alluded to this one in our first tip, but technology goes well beyond using a recording device or camera. By using tools like Evernote or your insurance company’s app, you can keep all videos and photos and even your checklist in one location easily accessible from any mobile device. The great thing about using a mobile app to keep track of such things is that if you sell anything of value or add anything later on after the inventory has been created, there’s no need to start over from square one. All you have to do is snap a new photo and add it to the server. Problem solved! Incidentally, this brings us to the last tip:
Home insurance agents always encourage their clients to update policies so the coverage reflects real-time value. After all, homes and possessions can go up in value, and if you haven’t given your policy a look in five years, there’s a good chance you’ve underinsured. Set aside time once a year to go through your checklist and make sure that the values listed still reflect actuals.
A home inventory can take a lot of time to create, but by using technology and setting aside the time to do it, it can pay off greatly should the unexpected ever happen. It’s definitely a commitment worth your sacrifice of time.