Creating and updating an inventory of your personal possessions is one of the best ways to make the most of your homeowners or renters insurance, and makes filing a claim easier and more efficient.
A home inventory is simply a list of your personal possessions along with their estimated financial value. You can create such an inventory in a simple, low tech manner by writing down everything in a notebook and keeping receipts in a folder. Or you can take advantage of technology and use a digital camera or smart phone to take pictures and/or videotape your belongings in order to have a visual record. There are alos several home inventory apps that enable you to create and maintain an inventory on a computer or mobile device.
No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing is to take action: create a home inventory and update it when you make major purchases. An up-to-date home inventory will:
- Help you purchase the right amount and type of insurance. Having an accurate list of all your possessions allows you to have a more productive conversation with your insurance agent or company representative when making decisions about homeowners or renters insurance coverage. After all, if you don’t know what you have, how can you insure it adequately?
- Make filing a claim as simple as possible. Most people cannot remember what they had for breakfast much less recall the contents of their attic, kitchen cabinets or downstairs closet after a fire, storm or other catastrophe. Disasters are scary and stressful, which can make trying to list damaged property for a claims form even more challenging.
- Substantiate financial losses for tax purposes or when applying for financial assistance. Following a catastrophe, the only way to determine whether you may qualify for a tax break or disaster assistance is to substantiate your financial losses. A well organized home inventory can be an extremely useful tool in this process.