A report by the National Fire Protection Association estimates an average of 354,400 homes suffer a structure fire each year. While no one expects their home to be involved in a fire, flood, or other natural disaster, it's important to be ready for such an event. One way is by creating a home inventory.
A home inventory is a record of your valuables and personal belongings, which you can send to your insurance company as part of a claim. While you might be thinking your home doesn't contain many valuable items, you'd be surprised. The cost of replacing everything can be exorbitant and a real financial burden if you don't have a home inventory or the proper coverage.
So we explore how to create a home inventory, what should be in it, and where you should store it.
How to create your home inventory
Your insurance company will want the following information in your home inventory:
A detailed list of your possessions.
The serial or model number of each item and manufacturer.
The item's value.
Date of purchase.
Receipts and appraisals of any large items.
Accompanying this information should be some representation of your item, so you'll need to add photos or videos of your items or rooms. Your most expensive items, such as a flatscreen TV or jewelry, should have their own photos.
Remember: You don't have to finish your home inventory all in one day. It's a home project, and you should treat it with the same care you would a DIY renovation or repair. Take an hour or two a week or allot yourself one room a week until you finish your home inventory list.
What should be in your home inventory
Here is a quick home inventory checklist to capture your most important items:
Big-ticket items: Home inventories are not just for artwork and antiques. (Of course, you should include those, too.) Important items like power tools, lawn mowers, televisions, collectables, memorabilia, musical instruments, jewelry, and other valuables, should be in your inventory, too.
Here's a few tips per room:
Kitchen: Take photos of your major appliances and if possible, scan the barcodes, QR codes, or serial numbers. Don't forget your cookware!
Bedrooms: Closets are filled with clothes and accessories that should be included in your home inventory.
Den/Home Office: Include electronics in your pictures – computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, and even game consoles.
Living Room: If you have the receipts for your TV, soundbar, smart home tech, etc., take a picture of those, too.
Dining Room: Grandma's expensive china must be photographed.
Basement/Attic: Most homeowners forget these areas, and some of your most expensive possessions might be found here. Document with care.
Garage: Any bikes, grills, power tools, lawn mowers, and outdoor furniture stored in your garage should be in your photos, too.
Smaller-ticket items: These are equally important, and you probably have more of them. When documenting items such as clothing, cookware, and 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, you don't need to be quite as specific.
Listing these items such as "20 shirts" and "4 baking dishes" is generally acceptable, unless some items are very high-end designer products. If you have any questions, be sure to check with your carrier.
When to update your home inventory
While you should review your homeowners insurance policy annually, you should update your home inventory as needed. Did you get a new necklace for your birthday or receive a large gift for retirement? Add these items to your home inventory, along with a picture or video of the item. Then reach out to your agent to see if you need additional coverage.
Where to store your home inventory
Making a digital copy of your home inventory is the most imperative part of creating it. Even if you've written out the items and have physical pictures, you still need to scan these items and create a digital copy of the home inventory, just in case a home disaster destroys your hard copy.
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Originally published on vipHomeLink.com