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Keeping a Home Inventory

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Kirk Ball by Kirk Ball + on Oct 4, 2013

When your home is damaged or destroyed, the last thing you want to do is come up with a list of all of your possessions for the insurance adjustor. Creating and maintaining a home inventory can help lessen that burden for you and your family. A home inventory is simply a list of all the items in your home. Keeping a home inventory has a number of insurance related benefits:
  • The most obvious benefit is that it can help make the claims process go more smoothly and quickly. The adjustor will use your inventory to document your possessions. It will also make it easier for you to put your life back together after the claim is settled.
  • They can help make sure you are not over-insured or under-insured. Typically, when people complete their home inventories, they find that the total value of their possessions is higher or lower than the value listed on their insurance policy. Making the adjustment can result in either having the correct amount of insurance or a savings in premium.
  • They can help expose gaps in your insurance coverage. While you may have a high limit of insurance for Personal Property, most insurance policies have sub-limits for certain classes of items. For example, it is common for firearms, business property, silverware, and jewelry to have sub-limits between $1,000 and $2,500. A good home inventory and a discussion with your Account Manager can help make sure you are properly covered.
So where do you begin? According to home inventory experts, the first thing to do is start by making a list of all the rooms in your home - including attics, garages, and closets. Next, go room by room and make a detailed list of each item in each room. Completing one room at a time is important because it can help keep you from getting overwhelmed with the process. You can just do one room per day to keep it manageable. Once these steps are complete, then go through the list and determine the cost to replace each item. Make note of the larger items that you may want to pay special attention to. These could include televisions, computers, cameras, video cameras, furniture, light fixtures, appliances, exercise equipment, rugs, china, tools, and toys. For these larger items, it is recommended that you also take photos and record any serial numbers. Once your inventory is complete, you will want to store it is a safe place that is easily accessible. We also recommend that you send a copy to our office, and we will store it (and electronically back it up) in your client file. 
 
There are many different ways to create your home inventory. You can simply use a pen and paper or you can use a computer word processing or spreadsheet program. You can also use a free smart phone app such as Visual Inventory or Encircle, or computer programs such as Home Inventory Pro ($29) or Quicken Home Inventory Manager ($19).
 
For most people the idea of creating a home inventory can be daunting. However, with a little planning and time, it can give you peace of mind and help make sure you're ready for the unexpected.
 
Have you thought about creating a home inventory? Have you completed one? Please leave a comment to let me know about your experience. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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