With all of the recent flooding we have been experiencing, many families are facing damage and loss to their personal property. Could you list all of the items you own? And if you could, would you be able to provide detailed information—including the purchase date, cost, model, and serial number—on the contents of your home?
If you ever need to make an insurance claim a detailed list of all the items destroyed, damaged, or stolen is required. Most people know they should document their home’s contents for insurance reasons, but what and how to document is the question.
HOW TO CONDUCT A HOME INVENTORY
To start, choose one room of your home and make a detailed list of every item contained within the room. Your insurance company will need certain details to complete the claims process including:
• A description of the item
• The manufacturer, model and serial number
• The purchase price and date
• Estimated or appraised replacement value
• Copy of receipt if available
Do this in each room and include photographs and/or video of the items you inventory. Be as thorough as possible in your documentation. Even if it seems redundant to include both video and still images, the video footage will enhance your claim by showing the items as they appear in your home and the photos will provide detailed information.
Don’t forget to include the attic, basement, garage and exterior areas of your home including patio furniture, decks, landscaping, etc.
STORING YOUR INFORMATION
Load your video footage, digital photos and worksheet onto a CD, DVD, or portable flash drive. Make two copies of your home inventory report and store them at secure locations outside of your home in a safety deposit box or with your insurance agent. You may want to include a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy with the inventory.
So what is and isn’t covered, and are there coverage limits? To find out quickly, look at the Declaration Page of your policy. This is a summary of your coverage.
Also look at the exact description of your property on this page. If you have made improvements to your home by finishing the basement, adding a deck, upgrading appliances, or installing new flooring, and have never updated your insurance policy, you may run into trouble if you ever need to make a claim for a loss. You may need to talk to your insurance agent about any extra coverage to adequately cover your home.
Although no one wants to experience any of these events, it’s important to document the possessions in your home and protect your assets in case of an emergency.