Disaster Doesn’t Wait – Create a Home Inventory for Insurance Now!

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on April 25, 2018

In 2017, 16 disasters in the United States caused an estimated $306 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Residents of Montana bore the brunt of wildfires that raged across more than 1 million acres. Californians suffered from fires, as well as flooding and massive mud slides, while hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated homes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Many of the residents of these disaster areas lacked homeowners insurance and, of those who had policies, many did not know how to account for their losses. Trying to recall every single item they owned was nearly impossible.

You can get complacent when you live in an area like Southern Maryland that’s not designated as disaster-prone. That’s a dangerous attitude when fires, theft, and other losses can happen anywhere at any time.

Be prepared by taking stock of your belongings now – before something happens.

“If you’re going to insure your property and pay for that insurance, you really should be able to document the ownership and the value of the items that you’re insuring,” Mark Goldwich, author of “Uncovered: What Really Happens After the Storm, Flood, Earthquake or Fire” tells houselogic.com’s Gwen Moran.

“If you don’t have proof of the items you owned, it makes filing your claim much more difficult,” he concludes.

There are several ways to create a home inventory, and we’ll get into some of them in a moment. First, however, learn what your insurance company will want to know about these items.

  • Description of item
  • Quantity
  • Manufacturer
  • Make/model/serial number
  • Date Purchased
  • Estimated or appraised value
  • Appraisal company
  • Where purchased
  • Appraisal date
  • Appraiser contact information

Ways to create a home inventory

  • Create a video of your possessions. As you record, narrate the important points of each item as you film it from all angles. Zoom in on the model and serial numbers.
  • Document in pictures. Take photos of each item, and make notes on the back of each.
  • Go old school and use an inventory checklist. You can find them online at allstate.comnycm.com, and homeinsurance.com.

Keep it safe

You’ll waste all the time and effort you spent documenting your home’s inventory if your documentation goes up in flames during a fire or disappears if your computer is stolen. Store your digital media online with a cloud backup service such as IDrive or BackBlaze. Read reviews of these and several similar services online at pcmag.com.

Although these services are quite inexpensive, a more budget-friendly way to store your valuable inventory information is to save the information to a USB drive and then lock it up off-site, such as in a safe deposit box.

Tips from the experts

  • The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you categorize clothing when you count items. For instance, “5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of sneakers…”
  • They also remind you to include items that are stored off-site, such as at a storage facility. These items are typically covered by your homeowners insurance.
  • Keep receipts and copies of appraisals for expensive items.
  • Don’t try to do too much of the inventory at once. If you become overwhelmed by the scope of the inventory project, you’ll be reluctant to return to it to get it finished.
  • Check coverage on big ticket items. Jewelry, art, and collectibles may have increased in value and may need special coverage separate from your standard homeowners insurance policy.

While you’re making your home inventory list, check with your agent to make sure you have adequate insurance for these items before there is a loss.

Again, don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Once you’ve started your inventory, keep going even if you can’t get it all done immediately. It’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all.

Mechanicsville MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309

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