Do you have a home inventory?

Do you have a home inventory? “You look like the honest sort. No, really; if you say you had a 100” flat-panel TV before the fire, we’ll just cut you a check,” said no insurance company ever.

Your homeowners policy is designed to cover household belongings should they be lost to fire or theft. But, without a detailed listing of your valuables, how is an insurer to know exactly how much to reimburse you?

That’s why a home inventory is so important. It’s a practical way to ensure that everything you own is protected fully from loss. It gives your insurer a record that helps determine the amount of your loss, assures that you receive appropriate reimbursement and can accelerate the claims process.

Creating a home inventory is easy and requires only a few simple steps.

1. Start writing. List all of your major belongings and furnishings, room by room. Include items tucked away in drawers and hidden in storage. Don’t forget to provide a brief description of any big-ticket items, noting details such as purchase price, serial numbers, etc.

2. Produce records. Back up your inventory list with receipts or appraisals when possible. Take photographs of your belongings, noting the date and shown contents on each picture. Or, you can videotape each room, describing the contents as you go.

3. Store it offsite. It wouldn’t be helpful to keep your inventory in your home—what happens if a fire destroys everything, including your records? Make copies of your list, receipts, photos, etc., and keep them in a safe- deposit box or with a relative.

4. Update regularly. Be sure to update your inventory as you acquire new items, particularly those of high value. Also, it is essential to conduct a new inventory whenever you move into a new home.

You also can use a camera or video recorder to take photos or videos of your rooms (remember to open drawer and cabinets). There are a number of apps available to help you make a digital records of your inventory, including: Know Your Stuff®–Home Inventory, the Insurance Information Institute’s free online home inventory software or the free MyHome from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Both of these apps are available on iTunes.

Be aware that policies generally limit the amount of coverage on certain possessions (e.g., jewelry and silverware) and may not be adequate protection for other possessions (e.g., cameras and fine arts)—consider purchasing additional insurance on these items. Give us a call today for more information and the best advice on your personal insurance needs.

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