Inventory Your Belongings Before a Claim Occurs

March 8th, 2023
Inventory your belongings for Insurance Before Something Bad Happens

No one 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?

In most cases, homeowner’s insurance covers not only damage to your home but also your belongings. If you’re faced with the reality of having to replace your personal belongings, being able to prove ownership of these items is paramount in being able to secure a quick and accurate payout from your insurance company.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies contain a Personal Property Replacement Value clause, but in order to be quickly and properly reimbursed for your damaged or stolen personal belongings you ideally need to know the manufacturer, model, purchase date, and purchase price of each item you claim. It is much easier to show an adjuster what you own if you have a well-documented record of your personal belongings before they are damaged/destroyed or stolen.

The first option is to keep receipts when you make purchases – however if you are like most people, this is not really feasible; further if your home is damaged by fire or other catastrophic event there is a chance these receipts will be lost as well. If you do happen to keep all 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 keep a written log of your personal belongings – however this can be a tedious endeavor and needs to be kept up to date. If you choose to inventory your belongings in this manner, be sure to write down the manufacturer, model, purchase date and purchase price for each item. Again, storing this list in a fire retardant file cabinet or away from your home is ideal so that it is not damaged or destroyed in a fire or other claim related event. While this method works it is not as ideal as having the actual receipts – ideally you want to have the actual purchase receipts so that you can unequivocally prove to a claims adjuster that you own these items.

Fortunately, technology provides us with a third option that’s so easy anyone can do it – simply use your cell phone camera to take a video of every room in your house. While videoing, be sure to verbally describe each item (include make and model), to the best of your ability. Once you have video inventoried every room in your home be sure to keep this video file in a secure location so that you can access it in the future. Creating a video is a good idea because this will help you to remember items that you own which you may have otherwise forgotten about. Remember claims adjusters love when an insured is able to provide proof of ownership of personal belongings and a video is an ideal way to do this.

Lastly, regardless of which method you choose, it is a good idea to update your inventory list or video periodically or whenever you make a large purchase.

Photo Credit: Vegan Feast Catering