Most people know that a homeowners or renter’s insurance policy is crucial when it comes to protecting your home from a fire or other disaster. However, if you want to safeguard your valuables from the unexpected, there’s another important document you may be overlooking: a home inventory.
If disaster strikes and your home and belongings are destroyed, a home inventory makes the insurance claims process a lot simpler, and it helps you get your possessions replaced quicker. While creating this inventory may be a time-consuming task, it doesn’t have to be completely daunting. Check out the following simple tips for compiling your home inventory:
• Details, details, details. A home inventory includes a comprehensive list of all your belongings, along with receipts, photos, and descriptions.
• Divide and conquer. Instead of making one long list of your items, break it down by room and/or type of item, such as clothing, heirlooms, electronics, and jewelry. This will make the home inventory less overwhelming and decrease the chances that you’ll overlook something.
• Know what your stuff is worth. If you have antiques, family heirlooms, or other valuables that don’t have receipts, you may want to have them appraised in order to determine their value.
• Look behind closed doors. When taking your inventory, make sure you don’t overlook items that are stored in the closet, drawers, attic, or garage. Bicycles, holiday decorations, and sports equipment may be out of sight, but their cost adds up. Make sure you include everything – even if it’s in storage – on your list.
• Add it up. Once you have a full document of all your belongings, along with their values, add up all the items in your home and their total cost.
• Keep it safe. Store your complete home inventory with your insurance policy in a safe, easily accessible place, such as a fireproof box, safe deposit box, or other secure location.
• Take stock annually. Remember to review and update your inventory each year, or whenever you make a significant purchase, to ensure your new items are documented.
If you’re looking for a useful tool to help with your home inventory, keep an eye out for the release of the new Trusted Choice mobile app, which includes a handy home inventory tool. Available in the Android Marketplace and iTunes App Store in February 2012. For help obtaining coverage for your posessions, find a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent near you.