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Protect your possessions: Take a home inventory

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Mar 19, 2013 11:35:00 AM

living roomIf your home was destroyed in a fire or tornado, would you remember every possession you had in it? It’s not very likely. That’s why it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your possessions now.

Keeping a current inventory benefits you in three ways:

1. An inventory helps establish a replacement value for all your possessions. 

2. You won’t forget anything. Remembering what was taken just after you’ve been robbed can’t be easy. And you can’t be compensated for items you don’t remember you had.

3. If you have a loss, you’ll have to provide your insurance company with an inventory anyway. It's much easier to have it prepared BEFORE something happens instead of trying to create it when you’re dealing with the emotional after-effects of a loss.

Here are some tips for creating an inventory checklist:

1. The more detailed your inventory, the better.

That being said, don’t make it too complicated. An easy way to do a home inventory is go from room to room, photographing or video recording the contents of each room, then jotting down descriptions and details. Don’t forget your closets, cupboards, and drawers. And be sure to include the basement and garage.

2. Your inventory checklist should have:

  • Brand names and serial numbers of products;
  • Digital photographs, preferably stored on a disc or flash drive; and
  • Receipts. If you don't save receipts, it’s a good time to start.


3. More expensive items like jewelry, collections, furs, and other valuables are limited in the amount covered.

If the value of these kinds of items exceeds the limits, be sure to insure them separately. You may need appraisals to do this.  Once you have an inventory and appraisals, store them in a safe deposit box away from home.

4. Keep your inventory current.

Update it yearly, especially if you buy, sell, or give away items. Failing to update your inventory could result in insufficient (or too much) insurance coverage.

Ideally, you’ll never need to file a homeowner's insurance claim. If you do, however, an updated home inventory checklist can make the process faster and easier, and help you get the most from your insurance. It can also give you peace of mind, knowing all your possessions will be accounted for.

To view West Bend's Personal Property Inventory checklist click here.

Do you have any suggestions or information you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.

Topics: Home Insurance

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