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How do I take a Home Inventory for a Homeowners Insurance Policy?

By Compuquotes Team on October 16th, 2009

Homeowners Insurance

Creating and updating a home inventory can greatly assist your insurance company in providing necessary coverage if your home is damaged or destroyed.

Why take a home inventory for your insurance company?

Think a moment. If your home was damaged or destroyed by a fire or flood, would you recall every single possession you had inside? That includes your attic, basement, garage, and storage rooms in your home. If you're like most people, you accumulated your most valuable possessions through all the years of your life.

When you complete a home inventory you help insurance companies settle your claim promptly and according to your terms of coverage. Contact your insurance agent and see if your company has specific requirements for itemizing your possessions according to the policy.

Make a List and Check it More than Twice

Walk through your home, citing every possession, annotating your list with sales receipts, dates, store names, warranties, identification or serial numbers, and a detailed description. The process may seem tedious and slow, but you'll certainly appreciate doing it if your valuables are important to you. If you've taken time to compare insurance and gather quotes, why not be as meticulous with your keepsakes and valuables?

Compile Your List with Your Insurance Coverage in Mind

Your policy is itemized, so itemize your possessions. This includes clothing, appliances, electronics, computers (including peripherals and software), jewelry, heirlooms, paintings and sculptures, furniture, collectibles, photographs, and more. Go from room to room, charting your valuables. Be sure to include itemized details in children's rooms, too.

Keeping Records for Insurance Claims

If you're the kind of homeowner who shopped for insurance quotes, you probably should get fresh quotes on artwork or other possessions that may have changed in value. Contact your insurance company as often as necessary to ensure that your policy contains adequate coverage.

As you do your walk-through, take photographs or videotapes of your contents. Some homeowners even carry a voice recorder along on their insurance tour.

Include image records (photos or video) of kitchen appliances, living room and entertainment centers, bedroom suites, dinettes, silverware and dishes, clothing, hobby materials, draperies, lighting fixtures, window treatments, workshops and tools, and garage items. And don't forget the guest rooms.

It's not a bad idea to include receipts, warranties, and other sales information in the same place you store your video or photographs (more on this later). After you have completed the job, you'll want to add new pictures or video records whenever you acquire new items that are covered on your insurance policy.

Keeping Your Inventory in a Safe Place

It really pays to digitize your inventory. Take your walk-through paperwork and enter it into your computer. Some homeowners create a spreadsheet, itemizing possessions by type or by location. The best part of making your records digital is that they can be stored on DVDs, CDs, or other media.

Consider transferring your records to a safe-only depository. Many online companies and software makers offer free online storage. And you can take videos or computer media and store them in a safe deposit box. That means if your computer is destroyed by fire or flood, you'll have all records your insurance company needs to process your claims.

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