While taking a home inventory might seem like a tedious, slightly soul-sucking task that’s going to take forever, it’s extremely important when it comes to your home insurance. A home inventory is pretty much a list of the items in each room in your house, along with the estimated cost of each item. Taking a home inventory is fairly straightforward, but we’ll walk you through the benefits of having one and give you some tips for making sure you have a top-notch inventory.
What are the benefits of having a home inventory?
There are a few reasons why we’re advising you to spend a good bit of time wandering around your home with a clipboard and pen.
1. A home inventory will help you in the event of a claim.
If your house was destroyed in a fire or your home is burglarized, you’ll need to have a detailed list of everything that was taken to make sure that you can have everything replaced. Let’s face it – our memories aren’t perfect. We will forget things, especially in the aftermath of a trauma like a fire or a burglary.
2. Having a home inventory will help you negotiate with your insurance company.
It’s a sad reality, but insurance fraud is on the rise, which means that insurance carriers are often skeptical of claims. If you have a home inventory already prepared and ready to go, it’ll help you prove your case to the insurance carrier and make the claims process much smoother.
3. Your home inventory will help you find out if you have enough insurance coverage on your home.
A home inventory can help you find out how much home insurance you need. By taking stock of all of your possessions and their approximate prices, you’ll have an idea of how much coverage you’ll need to make sure that everything can get replaced by your insurance. You should have coverage that matches the cost of your possessions at today’s prices to make sure that your home can be restored as good as new.
Pro tips for taking your home inventory.
Pro tip #1: Be thorough.
Make sure that you visit every room on your home inventory mission, and record all of the contents of that room. Open drawers and cabinets and look in closets to make sure that you’re writing everything down. You don’t want to miss something important.
Pro tip #2: Include photos or video.
Like we mentioned before, insurance fraud is becoming a problem. Having photos or video footage of each room will help you prove your case to the insurance carrier, not to mention help you remember what you need to claim as lost.
Pro tip #3: Keep your receipts.
If you make a significant purchase for your home, like a new television or stereo system, you’ll want to hang on to that receipt and include it in your inventory. Again, this will help you know what you need to claim and how much it cost.
Pro tip #4: Pay extra attention to jewelry, artwork, and furs.
These items will need to be appraised regularly to make sure that you have an accurate representation of their current price. You don’t want to get $1,000 for a necklace that’s actually worth $1,500, right? Plus, you’ll want to make sure that you find out the best way to insure your jewelry, and that starts with knowing all of your pieces and their value. You may need to increase your coverage if one of your valuable possessions goes up in value, and that’s where these appraisals and your inventory come in handy.
Pro tip #5: Store your inventory somewhere safe.
When you’re all done with creating your inventory, make sure that you choose a safe place to stash it, preferably outside of your home. It really won’t help you if your inventory gets destroyed along with your home. Keeping the inventory in a safe deposit box at your bank isn’t a bad idea.
Pro tip #6: Update your inventory regularly.
Make sure that your inventory is up to date. If you’re not checking it and adding to it regularly, it won’t include new items that you’ve purchased. Plus, going over your inventory at least once a year will help you make sure that you’ve still got enough insurance to protect your personal possessions.
Having an inventory can really make a difference if you ever face a major loss related to your home. It will really help you if you have to file an insurance claim. With an inventory, you’ll know exactly what to claim and how much coverage you need. Set aside some time and work away at taking that inventory – you’ll thank yourself later.
To help you in your inventory-related endeavors, we’ve got a PDF of an inventory checklist for you to download and follow as a guide. Download our inventory checklist