Being a homeowner can be extremely rewarding, but keeping your home secure is a huge responsibility. If you’ve ever watched the news and seen someone in the tragic position of losing their home or valuable possessions, you may wonder how you can protect yourself in the event of an unforeseen adverse event. By being proactive and taking certain actions now, you can help ensure that your home and belongings are protected, no matter what.
What Is a Home Inventory?
Essentially, a home inventory is a living catalog of the valuable items and possessions within your home. Farmers Insurance recommends including every valuable you own; this could be anything from heirloom jewelry to your art collection to expensive items of furniture.
Detailed home inventories include descriptions, pictures, serial numbers, purchase dates, estimated purchase prices, and appraisal values. Additionally, you should update your home inventory list regularly in order to re-evaluate both new and old items. In the event of an accident or property loss claim, having an updated home inventory will help you accurately report any losses and reduce the inevitable stress of trying to remember minute details.
Why Do You Need a Home Inventory?
Attempting to recall from memory what you’ve lost after unexpected events like fires, burglaries, or natural disasters can be emotionally exhausting and feel nearly impossible. During such a difficult time, it can be even harder to sort through the fog and keep track of what you need to report for insurance purposes.
If you only have general descriptions of items lost, it’s likely that your insurance company may reimburse you for the cheapest possible option. If your possessions are worth more than the lowest market value, a home inventory can help ensure that you receive what your items are really worth.
Make It Simple
Creating a home inventory may seem overwhelming at first since there are so many items to include. Because it’s important to work on every floor of the house, including basements and attics, creating the entire inventory can be a time-consuming process.
To save yourself both time and hassle, look for shortcuts to make the process more efficient. These can include:
- Worksheets provided by your insurance company.
- A video recording process that helps you physically walk through your home and take a visual account of what’s there.
- Mobile apps, such as Sortly or Know Your Stuff, that help you organize and itemize important records.
- A digital or external storage place for your inventory so that it does not become destroyed in the event of a disaster.
Create a Process
During inventory creation, remember to keep things streamlined so that you can stay both mentally and physically organized. To help steadily move things along:
- Start with a particular room or category of items. Don’t move on until you’re finished.
- Make the distinction between major and minor purchases and group smaller items into an overall value.
- Include basic information for item descriptions, reasons for purchasing, and any other details that would shed light if you need to file a future insurance claim.
- Take out additional coverage on larger or collectible items like artwork and jewelry.
- Create a master list with customized spaces for additional details.
A Note for Renters
If you’re renting a home or apartment, you can still create a useful home inventory that will help secure coverage in the event of a loss. In fact, having an inventory may be able to help you secure a better renters policy, since many rental plans place caps on certain categories like electronics.
As a renter, creating an inventory helps prevent an undervaluation of your belongings and raises the probability that you will be properly reimbursed. Your inventory can also alert you to a need for extra coverage, if your renters policy doesn’t cover everything you own.
Invest in Protection
When the unexpected occurs, you want to be covered from all angles. While a home inventory can help describe what was lost, using a safe can also protect many valuable, irreplaceable items. Turn to Western Safe for a variety of high-quality options.