If you lost all of your personal belongings in a fire or another catastrophe, you likely wouldn’t be able to recall all of your possessions from memory alone. That’s why a home inventory is important.
You can test that assumption by closing your eyes right now and listing all your valuable belongings in each room of your house. Even if you manage to get 80% right, you left 20% out, and you haven’t answered an even bigger question: What is it all worth?
Unless you have the most basic coverage through your homeowners policy, you should have replacement cost for personal property. Not sure? Read your policy to confirm.
What is replacement cost? It’s an insurance term that guarantees your property will be replaced by something brand new of equivalent quality and value. Old computer? New computer. Old fridge? New fridge. No depreciation is calculated on what you own, because if you lost it all, you probably couldn’t afford to replace it all. That would go against the very principle of insurance, which is to set you right after a catastrophic loss.
Home insurance fraud is a fact. So many people have used and abused the “My Roku 50-inch TV has been stolen” line that insurers proceed with the utmost caution when it comes to these kinds of claims. You won’t run into the same problem if your home is destroyed in a fire, but then who’s to say you really did have a 50-inch Roku TV in the first place if you can’t prove it?
You want to document everything of value with photos in your home inventory, along with a record indicating:
With all this in hand, your claim will be settled in record time. Don’t leave this information in your home; it should be stored securely in another location.
Pictures are factual, and they can help you organize your home inventory. Work systematically, from room to room, taking a 360-degree picture of the room with the major furniture and appliances in place.
If you have collections, such as silverware, baseball cards, coins or other paraphernalia, you’ll need to document these items separately and extensively. Check with your insurance expert that you are adequately covered for the entire value of these items. You can purchase riders specifically to cover your collectibles.
There are limits to other items in your home you might not be aware of. You should read your policy to know what those limits are. They include computers, antiques, furs, jewelry, sports-related items and more.
Try to time stamp your photos so the adjuster knows when you did your inventory, and store these pictures along with your list and receipts in a safe location.
Take the guesswork out of your claim. You’ll have more than enough to deal with if you experience a major loss, so it pays to be prepared.
Feel free to connect with us if you have any questions or would like to know more.
At General Insurance Services, we are a team of insurance professionals with an array of experience, backgrounds, and interests. We’re advisors with a mission to secure the future of the communities we serve. Share our knowledge through this blog allows us to get one step closer to achieving our mission.