From fires to burglaries to natural disasters, a loss of property due to events outside your control can be stressful. Insurance is there to help ease the burden after a tragic event. But working to catalog all the losses your homeowner’s insurance will cover can be challenging – especially right after the event that caused their loss! A home inventory helps you prepare and simplifies the process of making clear claims, letting you focus on getting life back to normal.
Read on to learn tips about taking a home inventory and how it can help you!
What Is a Home Inventory?
Just like it sounds, a home inventory a record of all the belongings in your home. Similar to how businesses will dedicate time each year to taking an inventory, you should follow these steps to document your property, including critical information that will help you during the claims process.
How you take inventory is up to you. The best home inventories will be thoroughly detailed and up to date. The more information you have, the smoother your claims process will be. It also means less work for you when you’re already reeling from the damage to your home or the emotional toll of a disaster or theft.
#1. Take Your Time
The first thing many people think when they hear about taking a home inventory is “How can I document all of these things?!” We get it! No matter the size of your home, the sheer volume of decorations and gadgets and irreplaceable items can seem immense. That’s why your first inventory shouldn’t be done in a single stretch!
Your house or apartment is already divided into neat chunks. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom and beyond. Dedicate some time each day or even once a week to working on your home inventory one room at a time. This helps break the process up, so you don’t get overwhelmed. It also makes it a lot easier to reference your inventory if a fire or other disaster primarily causes losses in just one part of your home!
#2. Use Information Provided to You
Modern home goods and furniture typically have model numbers or other key references. These can be invaluable for simplifying your home inventory catalog. Instead of trying to remember the exact name of the product you bought, or the furniture set you have, noting the model number can give you a specific reference that can be looked up when necessary to ensure your claim values your losses correctly.
These model numbers are often found right on the product, especially when you’re working with electronics! Keep an eye out for them and include them in your home inventory whenever possible.
#3. Photographs Can Keep It Cataloged
Don’t think of a home inventory strictly as a list you jot down in a notebook or in a digital word document. Your inventory can (and should) include photos and videos of each room or major item you’re documenting.
Photos can be used to quickly capture important identifying features like model numbers instead of having to write down all the potentially lengthy numbers of every item in your home. You can even use recorded video, verbally describing items in each room as you go through.
Taking advantage of multimedia to inventory your home can not only speed up the process, but it also helps you make sure that everything large and small is captured in your inventory, even if you forgot to note it in the original document.
#4. Update Your Home? Update Your Inventory!
The best part of completing your first home inventory is that it’s your last time completing it from scratch. Once you have the original inventory made out, you’ll only have to make updates when you make changes to the property inside your home!
If you like to break up your chores into bite-sized pieces, the best way to approach this is to make updating your home inventory a typical part of the process for any major purchase. If you get a new TV, replace your couch or get rid of some old decorations you don’t like anymore, update your list that same day!
However, to many, that can be unappealing. An alternative way to accurately and easily update your home inventory is to keep receipts for all your purchases somewhere accessible and schedule some time once a year to go through them. Once you’ve used these receipts to update your inventory, move them to a file or folder labeled as complete, and you’ll be able to have them all done in one go!
Keep in mind that your homeowner’s insurance will have a limit based on the information you provide to your insurance provider when you’re looking at policies and premiums. If you make major adjustments to the value of what’s in your home, you should be making updates to your insurance in addition to your home inventory!
#5. Store Your Inventory Somewhere Safe
Whether you prefer to inventory your home with a physical pad and paper or digitally, it’s critical that you store this information somewhere secure. The same damage that can lead you to making a claim for loss of property could destroy your list if the only copy is kept inside your home.
For physical copies, we recommend making duplicates and storing them either with a family member or somewhere else safe that’s not in your home. At the very least, investing in a fireproof and theft-proof safe can make sure your list is there after an event that would lead to a claim.
Digital copies are easier to backup. Using the benefit of cloud storage or something as simple as emailing yourself a copy, you can duplicate your home inventory and ensure that it’s there when you need it even if your phone, tablet or computer are lost.
Contact Iott Insurance for a Quote Today
Iott Insurance has been a part of southeast Michigan for over 50 years. We can help you plan your insurance needs and find you the right policies or plans to protect you.
Or you can visit one of our three offices in southeast Michigan:
Blissfield, MI – (517) 628-4574
Lambertville, MI – (734) 807-3825
Petersburg, MI – (734) 215-9884
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