These tools and tips can help you recoup thousands of dollars when disaster strikes.
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), over 50 per cent of Americans don’t have a home inventory of their belongings putting them at a risk for inadequate insurance coverage in case a disaster strikes.
What Is a Home Inventory?
In simple words, a home inventory is an up-to-date record of all your possessions. It’s created so that in case of a disaster, you can easily and quickly get your claims settled.
Creating and updating your inventory of personal possessions is an excellent way to make the most of your renters or homeowners insurance and makes filing a claim efficient and easy.
Creating a home inventory is simple and can help you save a lot of money (and headache) in the longer run.
Why Should I Create a Home Inventory?
It’s important to create a home inventory as:
#1. It helps you purchase the right kind of insurance
An accurate list of your personal possessions will enable you to have a better conversation with the insurance personnel when making decisions about renters or homeowners insurance coverage. It’s one of the best ways to get the best of your insurance.
#2. It makes filing a claim super easy
Most of us can’t remember what we had for dinner last night, let alone recall everything that we possess. Disasters are stressful and scary that makes creating a list of damaged property for claims more challenging. A handy list of your belongings will prove to be a huge relief in such times.
#3. Aids in financial assistance
Following a disaster, you can only qualify for disaster assistance or a tax break is if you can substantiate your losses. An organized home inventory will prove to be useful during such a process.
Fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes: disasters can strike any time. And when that happens, most of us aren’t in a position to recall everything that we owned.
Unless a proper account of everything that we owned is provided to the insurance professionals, you’ll not be entitled to a proper claim.
Therefore, the key is to have a detailed home inventory. Here are 6 easy steps to create a home inventory:
#1. Choose the Right Storage Method and a Software
- Taking a few pictures or scribbling in a notebook is okay but not the best options to create a list.
- Choose a software program designed to create home inventories such as What You Own that’ll make the entire process easier.
- You can also opt for free options by creating a DIY list using free templates from Canva or by creating a spreadsheet.
- Do a little research to determine the best option for you before getting started.
#2. List your Personal Belongings
- The best way to get started is by starting with an easy spot— like your handbag shelf or kitchen appliance cabinet.
- Write down the name and value of everything you own in that contained space before proceeding to the next area.
- If you want, you can also group items falling in the same category or of the same types such as books or kitchen utensils.
- Make small notes of the condition and model number of each item and staple the receipts next to the item if you have any.
#3. Take Help of Technology
- If you’ve been using a pen and paper until now, it’s time for a little upgrade.
- Take pictures, record videos or use an app that’ll help you create a room-by-room record of all your belongings.
#4. Finish the Paperwork
- Replacing identification, reports, legal and financial documents can be a hassle.
- Take steps to protect and preserve such documents.
#5. Create a Separate List of Valuable Items
Valuable items such as electronics, collectables and jewelry require separate insurance and therefore, it’s wise to create a separate list for them. Be extremely thorough when creating this list and include:
- Multiple photos of each item
- Purchase location and date
- Serial number
- Receipts (if you have any)
Follow the golden rule: if you paid more, then document more.
#6. Keep Copies in Different Places
- No matter how you chose to create a home inventory, always create a few copies away from home.
- Don’t limit the storage of your list to a single place such as your computer or mobile or even a hardcopy in your house—they could all be destroyed in the disaster.
- Save your list in the cloud or send out a few physical copies to your friends and family for the sake of safekeeping.
- Creating a home inventory can be daunting but not if you’re using our tools and tips.
- Easily verify losses for your insurance claim and income tax returns by creating a home inventory.