Once new homeowners are settled in their new place with most of the boxes emptied and their contents put away, it is important to consider creating a home inventory. In the unfortunate event that your valuables are ever lost or stolen or possibly destroyed by a flood or fire, having a record will be the best way to have them replaced.
Scott Congiusti, assistant vice president and personal claims adjuster at HUB International Northeast says, “Very often, homeowners learn of the importance of a home inventory after a loss.”
According to a recent article by Jameson Doris, in RISMedia’s Housecall, creating a home inventory need not be a daunting task, especially with all of the new technology available (Homeowner Safety: How to Create a Home Inventory). Initially, walk around your home and film your valuables with your smart phone. In addition, there are several apps that may be useful.
Here, from the author, are five suggestions to keep top of mind when making your inventory.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. Ten years ago you might have needed a bulky camera with several lenses to create a complete home inventory. Today, all cellphones are equipped with video capacity so that creating your personal inventory may be as simple as recording your valuables as you walk around your property. Jason Hargreaves, managing editor at InsuranceQuotes.com says, “Remember you are taking an inventory, not making a documentary.”
- Know what qualifies as a “valuable.” Obviously, most things like jewelry and laptops need to be itemized. However, other items in your home qualify as being just as valuable. Be sure to film all of your furniture and electronics despite the age. Also video items in your drawers and closets that will be costly to you when and if it becomes necessary for you to replace due to loss.
- Use an app. Encircle, Belongings, Stuffanizer…these are all popular inventory apps currently available. Be sure to read the reviews of these apps to determine which features and ease of usability are right for you. Keep your home inventory stored on a drive once you have completed it. Very important, be sure to have a backup in the cloud so that you can easily access it when needed from any device. Just be certain to select the app that you will be most comfortable using.
- Get a rider for expensive items. It is important when dealing with items such as jewelry, rare antiques, and pricey art that you have an insurance rider. This provides additional coverage – for an additional cost – for your homeowners’ policy. If you do have valuables worth thousands of dollars, it is most important that you film them from as many angles as possible, since you cannot depend on a written inventory alone. Also, take videos of any written appraisals of these items which will help determine replacement value.
- Don’t fret too much over your wardrobe. It is not necessary to video each item of clothing in your closet unless they are very valuable, such as a Birkin bag or full-length fur coat! A picture of what is inside your closet should suffice.
Hargreaves offers this advice. “If you have replacement insurance instead of actual cash value, you might want to document any super high-end items.” If, however, “your wardrobe consists of many high couture items you might consider a policy rider.”
Since most people do not wish to even consider a worst-case scenario, do not push the possibility out of your mind. Just consider the five tips from the author so you will be prepared in case disaster strikes.