Trying to rebuild your life after an accident—whether it’s a house fire, a burglary or other unfortunate mishap—is tough. You’ve barely had time to process what happened when suddenly you’re responsible for handling reports for law enforcement, insurance claims and financial logistics. Not to mention you’re mourning the fact that your life went from business-as-usual to disaster within the span of a few hours!
The last thing you want to do is draw a blank when you try to recall your personal possessions. Or worse, remember them clearly but have no documentation to prove it. That’s where an inventory comes in.
Creating an accurate home inventory and keeping it up to date is important for a few reasons: it helps you file an accurate claim after a covered loss and it helps you determine homeowners insurance rates. For example, your yearly inventory may alert you to the fact that you’ve added a lot of valuable possessions since you last revisited your policy, prompting you to do so.
But many homeowners do not update their inventory frequently enough—or create one at all! According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 59 percent of consumers have not inventoried their prized possessions. And even among homeowners who have, nearly half (48 percent) have no accompanying receipts, 27 percent lack photographs and 28 percent have no back-up copy of the inventory outside of their house.
Here’s how to inventory your assets for insurance purposes:
Make Digital Records
Inventories used to be strictly a matter of pen and paper, but now more homeowners are going digital in their archiving efforts. Creating a video inventory allows you to lay out your most valuable possessions and name each item one by one. Be sure to mention where you purchased each item or collection, and pay special attention to your most valuable assets (heirlooms, pricey pieces of technology, jewels, coins and more). You can also create an HD photographic collection, pairing each picture with a digital or physical note including a full description.
Store Records Safely
While a paper inventory is susceptible to damage or loss, a digital inventory can remain safely outside your home, meaning it’s still accessible after an incident. If you do create a physical inventory, make sure a copy is safely and securely stowed outside your house, perhaps with a trusted relative or in a safe deposit box. For digital files, the Insurance Information Institute recommends keeping a copy on an external drive or storing it in the cloud. It’s also a breeze to update existing digital records—just add any big-ticket items as soon as you buy them.
Your insurance policy is only as good as your inventory; your coverage level has to reflect the value of your possessions in order to protect them. An inventory is a great chance to make sure that your policy holds up over time. That starter policy you bought five years ago might be a size too small for your current collection!
Is it time to evaluate your insurance options? Compare homeowners insurance rates and find a policy that fits with CoverHound.