Floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires—all these disasters can happen in the most unexpected ways. Most people are too confident that these disasters could never happen to them, but until one hits close to their homes, it will be the time when people come to their senses.
Most homeowners apply for insurance to make up for any unexpected damage. But once a disaster strikes, you will unlikely remember everything you have. Worse, if you fail to account for all possessions, you won’t receive what you should from your insurance company.
Suppose you become a victim of any major disaster. A home inventory serves as your essential resource for setting up a homeowner’s insurance claim. This way, returning to normal home life will be easy and worry-free. But sometimes the insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover all the losses because you fail to provide adequate details to settle your claim.
Having an updated home inventory will help you verify losses for the income tax return and settle your insurance claim faster. To start, this article will teach everything you should know about creating a home inventory. Get started today to make your life easier.
What is a home inventory?
A home inventory is a list of all household possessions to make filing an insurance claim easier. Although you can start with a simple list, it is best to include plenty of information as possible. You can include the item description, brand, model or serial number, purchase date and price, receipt, and estimated replacement cost. If you’ve had home remodeling, you can write down all the expenses for the renovated part of your home.
Using previous credit card statements will help identify dates and purchase prices if you cannot find the old receipts. It is also ideal to keep a visual record of your belongings as it provides further proof of ownership. It is up to you whether it is a video walkthrough of your home or a collection of photographs.
Creating a home inventory
If you are just starting a new household, creating a home inventory is easy. But if you have been living in the same house for years, the task may seem pretty challenging. To get you started, here are the things you can do:
- For those moving into a new house, compile a list and take photos as you unpack the boxes. If you hire a mover, you can rely on their inventory records to save you time.
- Make a list of your possessions by breaking them down into manageable items according to their designated rooms. Also, don’t forget your off-site items or possessions kept in a self-storage facility. Keep in mind that a homeowner’s insurance still covers the stored items, so make sure to include them in the inventory.
- If managing a list confuses you, try other organizational approaches that you find convenient. Instead of lists, create a virtual spreadsheet. Another alternative is to create folders for every room and sub-folders when grouping items within each room. For example, you can divide the home office folder into categories, such as supplies, equipment, and furniture.
- If you have plenty of big-ticket items, such as collectibles, artworks, and jewelry, make sure to check their coverage. These items may have gradually increased in value and may require special coverage separate from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You can also consult an insurance agent to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for the items.
- You can also try apps to simplify the process of creating a home inventory. These apps come with extra features, such as barcode scanning to record product information automatically. Although they are designed for business inventory management, homeowners may also find them useful.
- Once done, maintain a habit of keeping it updated. If you are doing a house remodeling or buying new items, add them to the records and remove items you have discarded.
Where to keep a home inventory?
If you printed or wrote the inventory on a document, keep it in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe. A great tip is to create digital copies and store them securely in cloud storage.
When using digital services to store and compile your inventory, make sure to understand its privacy settings. Remember that household possessions consist of valuable information that cybercriminals may find useful. Better yet, avoid including your home address in the inventory.
Your home inventory becomes useful only if it is complete and accurate. You can always turn to it to submit information to your insurance company in case of theft, fire, or any destructive disaster. Regardless of the process and the medium you used for your home inventory, keep a backup and store it in a safe place.