Creating a Home Inventory for Insurance Purposes

Home-Inventory-webA home inventory is the best way to make the insurance claims process more efficient in the case of theft, damage or loss. Creating a file thoroughly documenting what you own will make a settlement from your homeowners or renters insurance company come faster and much less stressful. Furthermore, do you know if you even have enough coverage for everything within your dwelling? This list can help you avoid even further loss later. Here are a few steps and advice on how to make an accurate home inventory.

1. Choose a method

A home inventory can be as simple as a written list, or go as far as a videotaped record. Most insurance companies recommend complementing a written list with a visual method of either pictures or video, in order to show proof of ownership.

Here are some additional photo tips, as written by the Oklahoma Insurance Department:

  • Use a color or video camera if possible.
  • Take both wide angles and close up shots.
  • Have a family member in all pictures to help verify ownership.
  • Make sure videotapes, slides and pictures are dated.
  • Open closet doors to demonstrate quantity of clothing.
  • Keep all drawers open to show content.
  • When taking pictures of a shiny or reflective surface, hold camera at a 45-degree angle.

2. Be thorough

You will most likely want to take a room-by-room approach to listing, taking special care to remember items in your attic, basement, garage and detached structures like sheds. Be very comprehensive when it comes to big-ticket items such as antiques, jewelry and electronics. Each item should include a product description including the make, model and serial number (if applicable), value and purchase date. Also, remember to constantly update your list as items need to be added or removed.

3. Save documentation

To further show proof of ownership and expedite the claims process, you will want to retain items such as receipts, credit card statements and appraisals, making copies of these items to keep together with your inventory list. You can also scan these items for digital storage for an extra layer of protection.

4. Keep the list secure

You will want to keep your actual home inventory protected as well. No matter what recording method you use, keep a copy away from home, as you don’t want your home inventory to become a victim of your property loss, too. Whether you take a copy to a relative or friend’s house for keeping in a safe — in addition to keeping one handy in your own fireproof box, place a copy in a safety deposit box at your financial institution, or leave a copy on record with your insurance agent. You will be glad you were extra vigilant in the event of a claim.

There are also online resources to help you be safe and thorough.

“The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers free resources to help homeowners and renters create their inventory” the Nevada Division of Insurance website informed, also telling that there are free NAIC apps for Apple and Android devices. “The apps guide you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and storing them electronically for safekeeping. The app also creates a back-up file for email sharing.”

Regardless of how you go about making your essential home inventory, remember that if you have any questions, you can always speak with your insurance provider for more details.



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