Could you remember everything you own if you lost it tomorrow? Could you list each item with brand, model, serial number and cost? How much will you remember when you are upset about the event which caused the loss? Do you have enough insurance?
Could you remember everything you own if you lost it tomorrow? Could you list each item with brand, model, serial number and cost? How much will you remember when you are upset about the event which caused the loss? Do you have enough insurance? These are some questions for which your claim adjuster will expect answers if you experience a theft, fire or natural disaster. Answering them—and knowing what you had—is easy when you are prepared with a home inventory.
We have all had our insurance agents tell us that we need to create an inventory of our possessions in case filing a claim ever becomes necessary. FEMA also recommends an inventory for disaster preparedness. Why? Because detailed documentation of your possessions provides the evidence necessary to justify the amount you are claiming. The burden is on the policy holder to prove ownership. Without this type of documentation, you risk a financial loss in your claim settlement because you either forgot about things or can’t prove ownership.
You may be wondering what an inventory consists of and how to create one. An inventory is a detailed list and visual representation of your home or place of business and all of its contents. Preparing one is really quite simple. To do so, you need to take a video of the outside of the structure, as well as of each room and its contents. You need pictures of one-of-a-kind items, antiques and collectibles—things for which it will be hard for a claim adjuster to give replacement values. To supplement the visual materials, you also need a written catalog of every item, including models and serial numbers for appliances and electronic equipment. The catalog is particularly important if you experience a theft, because it gives the information necessary for police departments to identify your stolen possessions and facilitate recovery.
Once your inventory is complete, make a careful decision about where you store it. The back of the closet could be destroyed along with your documents if you experience a fire or natural disaster. At the very least, it should be stored in a fire-safe box. The best place, however, is in a safe deposit box outside of the home.
There are many other benefits of having a cataloged inventory, such as expediting the claim process, preparing for estate planning, highlighting inadequate insurance coverage and assisting in moving and storage projects.
You can have a professional inventory prepared for you by a third-party service, which is viewed as being more reliable in general. Regardless of how you create your inventory, it is necessary to have. It will protect the investment you’ve made in your home or business as well as the items you have put in it. TPW
Lynn Cisco is the owner and operator of Home Inventory, Inc., based in Princeville, Illinois.