Knowing is half the battle:
You never know when a disaster may strike; home burglary, fire or flood. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, every year 7% of insured homes have damage that results in a homeowners insurance claim.
Imagine the worst: your home was burglarized, ransacked and your valuables were stolen. You’re upset. Stressed. Feel unsafe. Now imagine trying to figure out what’s missing. Sure, you’ll notice if the television or computer are gone. But what about jewelry? An heirloom trinket?
Figuring out what’s missing is easier if you have a list of everything you own, in every room of your house. As they say, “knowing is half the battle”.
If you have to file a homeowners insurance claim, you’ll need to submit a detailed list of items that have been lost, stolen, or damaged. You will need to recount the items, including the date and location of purchase, price, its make, model, condition and replacement cost or current value.
Having a list of your possessions prior to a disaster will ease a difficult process and can help you:
- Verify your high-ticket items are adequately covered under your current homeowners policy
- Examine your homeowners policy to ensure you have enough coverage if loss occurred
- Get your insurance claims settled faster
- Substantiate losses for your income tax return
- Create a record for your children and grandchildren, giving them a history of what’s what
It sounds like a daunting task, but The Insurance Information Institute has made the assignment easy with their free software. Know Your Stuff application is available for the computer or the smartphone and will help you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions as well as update the list as you buy or eliminate personal possessions.
How to start:
Download the free app for either your iphone or android smartphone
or visit www.knowyourstuff.org
and create a free user account.
The Know Your Stuff organizes your list, room by room. So, decide which room to start. Ignore no space. Include basement to attic, furniture to fixtures. Even the clutter in the corner and the jumble in the garage. If you bought it, record it.
Or do it the old fashion way:
If you aren’t so computer savvy, don’t let that delay you making a home inventory list. Use a video camera to record the rooms, get close up on the expensive electronics and possessions you own and narrate the contents as you film.
Or use your camera, even a disposable camera will do. Just remember to be thorough. Put together a simple notebook of your items organized room by room in a list-style format. Remember to describe the item including model/serial number, date and amount purchased for and current condition.
For every item you record, you will want to include:
What to inventory?
A good practice is to take several wide-room shot views at different angles. Then narrow in to specific drawers, closets and cubbyholes and then its subsequent items. Include items like:
computers, digital recording devices, televisions, electronics and their power supplies, dishwasher and microwave, laundry washer and dryer, stove/oven
carpet/rugs, window treatments, collections (coin, stamp, etc.), coffee pot, fans, hair dryer and other electrical appliances, lighting fixtures, silverware, cookware and utensils
musical instruments, china and dining service-ware, bathroom towels, bedroom furniture, entertainment centers, couches and end tables, clothing, shoes and jewelry
luggage/trunks, sports equipment, toys/outdoor games, bicycles, lawn mower, snow blower, shovels, sprinkler/hoses and holiday decorations
garden chairs and tables, umbrellas, outdoor cooking equipment and planters
For a complete inventory list visit www.iii.com
How much detail?
You don’t have to record every bath towel or pair of denim jeans, it’s probably sufficient to photograph or video record the entire drawer or closet and then approximate the number of slacks or
The focus is on the valuable items, so take additional pictures if the the item is tailor-made
or expensive label.
A good practice is to
group by category. For many items like books, linens, kitchen utensils, etc., you can make a general estimate of how
many you have and their estimated value.
Protect your list:
Once you have your inventory, make sure to protect it. If you are using the Know Your Stuff software, save it, keep your password in a safe place, share it with one trusted family member or friend.
If you have a hard copy or video of your home inventory, protect it so that it survives if there is ever major damage to your home. Store it in a safety deposit box, in a strong safe or lockbox. Make a duplicate copy to keep in your possession as well so you can keep it up-to date.
Keep your home inventory list up-to-date. Make changes to the software or your notebook or video if and when:
- you move items from room to room
- you receive gifts because of a holiday or birthday
- purchase big-ticket or expensive items
- give away items
- sell items
- break, lose or throw out items