If you ever need to submit a claim against your Rhode Island homeowners insurance, having an up-to-date and accurate home inventory can help ensure that you get the most money back. Completing a home inventory can help you establish how much coverage you actually need, settle your claim quickly if you need to file, and help you verify your losses for your income tax, too.
How to Prepare your Inventory
A home inventory is a list of all of your possessions and should contain details such as a description of the item, the monetary value of the item, and, if possible, any model numbers or serial numbers.
For people just starting out on their own, creating a home inventory is often very easy, simply because they haven’t accumulated very many possessions yet. On the other hand, those who have built up a lifetime’s worth or belongings may want to take advantage of the home inventory app from the Insurance Information Institute. If you’d prefer a more “old school” approach, you can always do a hand written inventory and include photos or a video.
Review Coverage on Big Ticket Items
Do you own artwork, jewelry, music equipment, a valuable collection of some sort, or extensive electronic equipment? If so, it is a good idea to keep valuations on their current worth. You may also need to review your coverage with your insurance agent to ensure that your current policy covers any increases in value since you purchased your policy. Otherwise, you may not receive their full worth if you file a claim.
Record Serial Numbers
Record the serial numbers of your electronic equipment and appliances. If your policy includes replacement coverage, the insurance company will need this information to estimate the cost of suitable replacements.
Take Photos or Shoot a Video
Home inventory apps like the one we previously mentioned allow you to take photos of your possessions and attach a description and estimated value to each item. If you are doing a written home inventory and taking your own photos of each item, it’s a good idea to record those details on the back of the photo.
Videotaping your home is another way to document the contents of your home. Walk through your home and describe the contents. For instance, a kitchen cupboard may contain a 12 piece dinner set complete with dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls. Mention where you bought the set, too. Don’t forget to video the insides of closets where you may store items but forget what’s in there the day something goes wrong.
Summarize Multiple Items
You do not need to record every item of clothing, every screwdriver and wrench, and every book or DVD. Count the items and record the totals. If you have expensive designer clothing or many expensive tools, you should still list those separately.
Don’t Forget the Attic, Basement, Garage, & Outbuildings
You probably have thousands of dollars-worth of gardening equipment, tools, sporting equipment, and recreational items stored in various locations. Items stored in storage lockers should be included, too. Review seldom-used areas and ensure that you have sufficient coverage for on and off-site locations by speaking to your insurance agent before you need to file a claim.
Store Your Inventory Safely
If you use a digital app, you can store the information in the cloud. If you do a written inventory, print it and attach the receipts. Store it in a safety deposit box, a fireproof safe, or with a friend of family member. Choose a convenient location, because you will need to update your inventory as you buy and sell items. Its helpful to retain receipts for items you buy – they’re the preferred way to prove the value of an item, although they’re not required by the insurance company.
Many homeowners do not realize the value of what they own until they do a detailed inventory. Call your insurance agent and discuss your coverage once you complete your home inventory so that they can review your policy and help you close any coverage gaps.