What's in Your Home?

The beginning of the year is a time when many people resolve to take care of organizational jobs that were left undone the previous year. You may thank yourself later if you take the time to create a home inventory.

Each year, about 6% of homeowners file an insurance claim.1 To accurately process your claim, the insurance company needs detailed information on all your losses. In the stressful aftermath of a burglary, fire, hurricane, or other unexpected disaster, it could be difficult if not impossible to accurately recall specifics on all the belongings in your home. Having an inventory may take pressure off you and facilitate the claims process so you can replace your belongings more quickly and efficiently.

Keep a List

There’s no single way to complete a written inventory of your valuable items, but it helps to use an organized method, such as listing everything in one room before moving to another. You might take photographs of each room and individual photos of the most valuable items. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

  • You may want to list your most valuable items first and gather receipts and/or appraisals to establish their value. If you don’t have a receipt or appraisal, you might find a similar item online and print out information, including its price or estimated value
  • For appliances and electronic equipment, detail the brand, model and serial number
  • For more common items, you could list the general type of item and number of each. With clothing, for example, you might list the number of coats, dresses, pants, shirts, shoes, etc., and note any items of special value

Take Advantage of Technology

With today’s digital photography, it requires very little work to take functional photos and/or videos of all your belongings, either individually or by groups or rooms. You might simply walk through your home videotaping and narrating as you go. Don’t forget to open the closets and cabinets so the contents are visible. You could also take digital photos of your inventory list, receipts, and other important documents so they can be stored electronically.

The Insurance Information Institute offers a free application called Know Your Stuff (knowyourstuff.org) that walks you through the inventory process on a computer or mobile device and allows you to store your information securely online. There are also other applications available; check your insurance company’s website. Having a mobile app at your fingertips might help you remember to update your inventory whenever you make a major purchase or change your living situation.

A digital record stored in your mobile device or online may enable you to access the information easily, even in the unfortunate event of a fire, flood, or other situation in which you can’t enter your home. Otherwise, make sure to keep copies of any physical documentation in a safe place outside of your home or in a safe-deposit box.

Make a weekend project of documenting your belongings, and you might sleep easier knowing you’re prepared. Your inventory may also help you determine the appropriate amount of insurance coverage to purchase and verify any future losses for tax purposes.

This article was suggested by our Credit-Union-owned insurance agency, Member Advantage Insurance Services. If you need help with your insurance needs, we encourage you to reach out to them free of charge at 800.866.6474 x2296 or info@memberadvantageins.com.