Take time to create a home inventory before disaster strikes!
We all hope we'll never have a theft, fire, flood or other weather-related disaster happen to our homes. But if one of these things should occur, you don't want to rack your brain trying to figure out what you've lost in order to file your insurance claim. The answer is to create an inventory of everything that's in your home. But the time to do it is now - before the loss occurs.
Creating a complete home inventory does take a few hours of your time. You'll want to look at your insurance policies, find receipts, take pictures, write up a list, and then put all these records away in a safe place. But experts advise you to make an inventory of your home's contents no matter what their value. This documents your ownership and the value of your items, which you'll need when filing an insurance claim.
Incidentally, once you've created a detailed list of everything in your home, be sure to compare your values to the coverage provided by your insurance policy. You'll want to have enough money to replace these belongings if they're damaged or stolen. You may be able to buy additional coverage if your possessions are worth more than what's covered in the policy.
A Simple Process
The easiest way to approach making an inventory of what you own is to walk around your home with a digital camera and a notepad to jot down what you're photographing. Even better, use a digital video camera, which you can get these days for about $150. With a video, you can just walk from one room to the next and describe the items out loud for the camera to record on the soundtrack. You can point out if something is an antique and you can mention important features, like the kinds of stones that are in a necklace or the size of a flat-screen TV.
Open up closets, cabinets and drawers to make sure you're not missing any contents. Take close-ups of serial numbers on electronic equipment, appliances, and power tools. Don't forget to photograph and list everyone's clothing and estimate its value. List brands, quantities, and condition along with these values - all this is important information when you're filing an insurance claim.
Get It out of the House
When you're finished, just make sure all your home inventory documentation is kept in a place away from your home. Digital information can be stored online using backup services like iBackup.com or Carbonite.com, which cost a few dollars a month. If you want to save that money, transfer the files to an inexpensive USB "thumb drive" that you can put in your safe-deposit box, someone else's home, or in an emergency bag containing the essentials your family will need if they have to evacuate your home on very short notice. A file containing your receipts and any appraisals of valuable items should also be stored off-site.
All this may sound like a bit of work, but it could mean thousands of dollars to you if anything happens. So good luck putting your home inventory together!
As always, please feel free to contact me at any time about any matters relating to home financing or refinancing.
... Have a great day!