The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to take necessary precautions to protect your loved ones and your home. No one anticipates experiencing a home fire, yet in 2019, 371,500 home fires were reported in the U.S. Home theft is also a leading cause of loss — 2.5 million burglaries happen across the country annually, and 66% of those are home break-ins. Creating a home inventory can help ensure you protect your belongings and while it may seem daunting at first, you’ll be thankful you have one if anything ever happens to your home.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, having a home inventory list will help you understand the value of your possessions so you can have the proper insurance coverage. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are the steps to conduct your own home inventory.
Document your valuables
Going room by room throughout your home, identify each valuable item and record the following:
- Description of the item (make, model, serial number if applicable)
- Cost at time of purchase or appraisal price
- Where and when the item was purchased
- Receipt if you have it or photo of the receipt
The more information you have ahead of a loss, the more coverage you will have. When possible, take photos and videos of items in your home, especially if you have an art or jewelry collection. If an item is irreplaceable, like an antique or a family heirloom, connect with your insurance agent to find out which kind of coverage is best suited for you.
Determining the value of items
In order to receive appropriate compensation when you file a claim, you’ll need to provide the value of each item you lost. To do this, think about the cost to replace your belongings rather than their cash value. The replacement cost value is compensation equal to the dollar amount it would cost to replace the item. Cash value coverage is a depreciated value of an item at the time of the loss, which might not be enough to replace it.
If you’re unsure about the value of some items, see an appraiser who can give you an accurate value of your item’s replacement cost.
Store your home inventory in a safe and accessible place
Having a home inventory is crucial, but only if you’re able to access it when you really need it. Keep a password-protected digital copy of your list; and also consider having a hard copy that you keep in a safety deposit box or leave with a trusted friend or family member. Additionally, consider putting your insurance policy number and claims phone number on your list so it’s readily available to you.
Update your inventory list periodically
Over time, the value and replacement cost of your items can change. Revise your list whenever you purchase new, high-value items or if you move. If items are stored in different rooms than you originally categorized them, make sure to document that change as well.
If you have more questions about protecting your home and your valuables, visit our website to find a local agent near you: https://patrons.com/find-agent.htm