A Quick Way to Inventory Your Belongings- And Why You Need To

Nobody likes to imagine the worst – but in the insurance business, it’s our job to think about the worst that could happen and educate our customers on preventative measures.

What if you have a fire in your home?

What if your home is robbed?

What if you lose every possession you own, and you have to get reimbursed from your insurance company?

In most cases, homeowner’s insurance covers not only damage to your home but also its contents. If you’re faced with the reality of having to replace everything you own, securing a quick payout from your insurance company will help you get back on your feet quickly.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies contain a Personal Property Replacement Value clause, but in order to be reimbursed for your damaged or stolen personal possessions you need to know the manufacturer, model, purchase date, and purchase price of each item you claim. And of course, it’s much easier to have a well-documented record of your personal belongings before they are destroyed or stolen.

The first option is to keep every receipt for every item you purchase – but if you’re like most people, that’s not really feasible and if your home is lost in a fire, chances are those records will be lost as well. If you do happen to keep all of your receipts, it makes sense to keep them all together in a fire-retardant file cabinet or even a safety deposit box.

Another option is to write down an inventory of your personal belongings – however, this can also be tedious especially if you forget to keep it up-to-date. If you do choose this strategy, be sure to identify the manufacturer, model, purchase date, and purchase price for each item. Then, ensure you have several copies outside of your home: a printed copy or digital version on a USB drive in a safety deposit box or fire-retardant cabinet, emailed to yourself, or stored on the cloud.

Luckily, technology provides us with a third option that’s so easy anyone can do it: simply use your smartphone to take a video of every room in your house. While videoing, say out loud the manufacturer, model, purchase date, and purchase price of each item. Then, be sure to back up the video in several locations (on the cloud, emailed to yourself, or stored on a USB drive in a secure location) in case you lose your phone. Creating a video will also help you remember items you may have otherwise forgotten to include while making a list off the top of your head. Plus, it can be helpful for a claims adjuster to get a visual of the items in your home.

It’s a good idea to update your inventory periodically – every year, or whenever you make a large purchase. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but if the worst should happen you’ll be glad that some of the stress has been lessened by your foresight.