How to Create a Homeowners Insurance Inventory
If your personal belongings are burglarized or damaged in an event such as a fire, you will need to file a homeowners insurance claim in order to be reimbursed for the loss of those items. Most people don’t tend to keep receipts on hand these days and in stressful situations, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to list everything you own off the top of your head. This is when a home inventory comes in handy.
A home inventory is a helpful way to stay on top of everything you own and is beneficial in multiple ways, which includes confirming losses on your tax returns and expediting the insurance claims process. Essentially, a home inventory is a detailed list of everything you own and how much it is worth in case of damage or theft. You can provide a home inventory with an insurance claim from events that are covered by your homeowners insurance, such as a fire. Unfortunately, only about 52% of homeowners think to keep a home inventory.
How to Create a Home Inventory
If you are moving into a new house soon, the best time to create an inventory is while you’re unpacking by simply adding items one by one as they are put away. If you’re already settled into your home, the best way to go about it is room by room.
Before going through your possessions, you should first decide on which type of inventory would be the easiest for you to create and store. Will you include photographs? Will you be able to keep track of and protect a physical list? Are you digitally savvy? Here are different list types to think about:
- Visual Proof: A visual inventory includes photos and/or videos of your possessions to prove ownership. This type of inventory can be a series of photographs or a video walk-through of your entire home. We recommend providing video or photo evidence along with a more detailed written or digital inventory.
- Digital Inventory: A digital inventory can be a spreadsheet or word document that is made on your computer. There are also apps you can download on iPhone or Android phones that allow you to keep visual records as well as a description, price and purchase date for each item.
- Written Inventory: A written inventory is a more tedious physical list. You can find home inventory checklist templates online so that you have an initial outline ready to be filled in.
Tips for Creating a Homeowner’s Insurance Inventory
- Go by room
To avoid running around your house and randomly listing items, start by going from one contained area to the next. You can start in your basement and work your way up to the attic or vice versa.
- Be as detailed as possible
Make sure to include a description of each item, including the price and purchase date. Even if you’re only able to provide a few sentences about a specific item, it can be helpful later on. You can take photos or videos of these items for further proof. Here are some other important details to include:
- Serial or ID numbers
- Make and model
- Where you purchased the item
- Estimated purchase price
- List items by category
To expedite the process, you can group small-ticket items in a more general fashion by stating the product type and quantity instead of listing each similar item individually. I.e., “4 t-shirts” or “6 teacups.”
- Be extra careful with big-ticket items
For expensive items such as jewelry and electronics, you will definitely want to keep visual proof and receipts. You may need enhanced coverage for items that exceed $1000, so talk to an agent about which items might exceed your coverage.
- Start keeping receipts
If you don’t already, you should get in the habit of keeping records of your receipts. You may also keep a visual inventory of your receipts along with your home inventory for extra security.
- Keep a copy of your home inventory off-site
Save your digital inventory to the cloud in case your laptop or phone is stolen. If you have a written inventory, keep it in a safety deposit box or your work office in case of a house fire.
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you can make – make sure it’s protected. At Amigo Insurance, we’re dedicated to finding you the best home insurance coverage at competitive rates. Call our experienced agents at 773-847-9000 to receive a free homeowners insurance quote today!