Being organized is essential to everyday life. It keeps you calmer, makes tasks easier, and increases productivity. Taking inventory is part of this organization process. It’s not just something stores and companies do; it’s also a task we use for groceries, bills, valuables, and home appliances. Frankly, you don’t know what could happen in the next 365 days—a natural disaster, fire, robbery, world peace…—and it is best to keep track of the important items for insurance purposes. By doing this, you make it a thousand times easier to file a claim in the event any items are lost or damaged.
- To start off your inventory, create three separate lists: The Big Stuff, The Middle Runners, and The Low Hanging Fruit.
- The Big Stuff list:
- This list is inclusive of major electronics and appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, computers, or instruments.
- Homeowners insurance covers appliances and electronics under the ‘Personal Property’ coverage part of your policy. Just make sure you have ‘Replacement Cost’ as an added endorsement to make sure you receive the replacement value of these items in the event they’re damaged, rather than just the depreciated value.
- The Middle Runners list:
- In this list, you should put items such as jewelry, firearms, cameras, tablets, cellular devices, collectibles, art, and antiques.
- Most likely, these items will require ‘rider’ insurance. This is just insurance lingo for ‘items-that-aren’t-fully-covered-by-your-regular-insurance’.
- The Low Hanging Fruit list:
- Toys, pots and pans, bed sheets, curtains, and other trivial objects would be assigned to this list. They may be trivial, but a $10 toy here and a $30 pan there will definitely add up.
- Sometimes the easiest way of taking inventory of these smaller items is to take photos. For example, snap a photo of each room in your home, the inside of closets, and the inside of dresser drawers. These photos should be stored away from your home to ensure they are not destroyed in the event of a fire, etc. Although your inventory and photos would never be necessary in the event of an insurance claim, it’s a helpful way of reminding yourself of all that you own if there ever was a disaster at your house.
- For any big ticket items, you will want to include the serial number, receipts and/or credit card statements, and the name of the item you are recording. If possible, include a photograph of the item (this would be best). Again, none of this is REQUIRED in the event of an insurance claim, but its certainly helpful information and ensures your claim will be settled as quickly as possible.
- Finally, be sure to update the lists as each year progresses or as items are disposed of or added. Above all, after you have finished your inventory, be sure to keep it in a safe, waterproof, fireproof, damage proof place. When it doubt, just keep it out of your house (at your office, a friend’s house, etc)!
Don’t delay in doing this; the sooner, the better! When you are done documenting the many belongings you never knew you had (…), take the spare time to do something extra. Throw out those products you haven’t used in a while, sort through your computer hard drive, or continue that story you started in middle school—you can thank us later… We hope your year is fun, prosperous, and peaceful!