According to the Insurance Information Institute, only half of all Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have a home inventory. Even worse, only 37 percent of millennials have recorded what they own.
Why You Need a Home Inventory
Many people don’t realize how important a home inventory can be if they need to file an insurance claim. Let’s face it – no one will remember everything they own, especially after a traumatic event that results in a major loss.
Renters and homeowners will want to receive reimbursement for their belongings, but without an inventory, it can be hard for the insurance company to come up with accurate payout. An updated record of your assets will speed your claim and verify the amount of your loss.
How to Create a Home Inventory
Creating a home inventory isn’t complicated, even if you own many assets. Follow these basics and you’ll have what you need in not time.
- Download a free home inventory app on your cellphone.
- Start by taking a photo of one small, contained area. For instance, you might want to start in a kitchen appliance cabinet.
- Photograph each item within the area and add a description.
- Record serial numbers, make, and model of electronics and major appliances
- Continue throughout your home, area-by-area, and room-by-room. Don’t forget the garage, shed, and off-site storage too.
- Count items in categories i.e. 6 pairs of jeans,2 coats
- Note expensive items separately such as jewelry, collections, antiques, art, expensive electronics and sporting goods
- Keep receipts, appraisals, and contracts. Most apps allow you to store these with the image file.
- Use the app to determine an approximate value if you do not have a receipt or appraisal.
- Update inventory annually – it will only serve you well if you keep it up-to-date.
- Store a backup – apps store the information online, but you may want to download a copy to store offsite.
Some renters and homeowners choose to open all drawers and cabinets and then video the contents. While this may be faster, it certainly isn’t as effective. You will still need to list these items if you need to file a claim and it is also easy to miss items. However, a video can provide visual triggers to help you remember what you own. It is certainly better than nothing.
Once you have created a comprehensive list of your belongings, you should schedule an insurance review with an independent insurance agency like ours. We’ll review your policy and your inventory and realign your coverage to properly protect your belongings.
This is especially important for valuable items that may exceed the limits of a standard Rhode Island homeowners insurance policy. Without proper coverage, your insurance company will only pay up to the policy limit and you won’t be made whole.
If you think creating an inventory and checking your insurance coverage is too much trouble, consider the consequences. When you need your coverage the most you, might discover you’re underinsured or improperly insured leading to less compensation than you deserve. Considering the time it takes, a home inventory is well-worth your effort.