Homeowners Insurance & Keeping Track of Your Goods

By Krista Farmer

Homeowner’s insurance is an invaluable investment for every homeowner. If your house went up in flames and you lost everything, would you be able to recall everything you owned, including the items’ values? If you came home from work to find someone burglarized your home, would you be able to account for everything that had been taken or destroyed? While some items are priceless and/or likely have sentimental value, memories unfortunately are not sufficient for filing a homeowner’s insurance claim in the wake of a disaster.

In times of distress, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your possessions are covered or not. If you purchase homeowner’s insurance, it is important to know what your policy covers. Not sure what’s in your homeowner’s policy? That topic will be covered in a future article.

Your homeowner’s insurance, ideally, will replace the cost of what you lose in a disaster. More importantly, however, is the fact that you will only be compensated for what you can account for. In other words, fond memories are heartwarming, but they will not reimburse your losses in a catastrophe.

“But how will I account for everything I lose in such an event?”

Well, the most accurate way to keep track of your items would be to take an inventory of everything you own. While this is a process that could take months to complete, it is your most worthwhile strategy should you experience misfortune.

“What do I need to put in this inventory?”

Put simply. EVERYTHING. The more you can account for in your homeowner’s insurance claim, the more likely you will be reimbursed. The list should be as detailed as possible and should include appliances, carpets, jewelry, furniture, linens, antiques, furniture, and the list goes on. To get your money’s worth, go from room to room and be sure you are as descriptive and detailed as possible. Include:

  1. a description of the item (including the quantity)
  2. the manufacturer or brand
  3. any model or serial numbers
  4. a description of where or how the item was attained
  5. the date of purchase or age of the item
  6. receipt or other proof of purchase that shows the cost
  7. the current value
  8. the replacement cost
  9. photocopies of appraisals
  10. “I’ll never complete this process!”

Keep in mind that while this documentation process may be time-consuming, it is certainly easier than remembering everything you own. Don’t let this task discourage you. Take photos. Even better, make a night out of it. Grab your video camera and go from room to room to create a visual and verbal description of your items. It might take you an hour to document your entire house. Regardless of how you complete your inventory, remember that your compensation rests on the quality of your documentation.

“I’ve made the inventory, now what?”

It is likely you invested a good amount of time to document your items. Whatever you do, keep that homeowner’s insurance inventory safe! If an unfortunate event comes your way, you certainly do not want your hard work to go to waste. Store it in a relative’s home, in a lockbox, a safety deposit box or keep it tucked away in your office desk. While memories and keepsakes can rarely be replaced, it’s comforting to know your homeowner’s insurance will keep you financially secure should you properly document your items.

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*Please note that this article is not a professional consultation. This article is for general information only. Always seek specific information from a licensed insurance professional.*

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