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Creating a Home Inventory

July 17, 2013

This time last year we blogged about family emergency planning and a few months ago we discussed the topic of creating defensible space around your property.  This week we want to cover another related subject: creating a home inventory.

The major reason we purchase insurance is that we don’t know when disaster will occur.  And we all know that an insurance policy is designed to make the insured “whole” after a sudden and unexpected loss.  When reinforcing the benefits of annual reviews, we want to reiterate that coverage reviews should always incorporate an evaluation of your personal property to be sure your policy maintains the principle of this standard.  For example, new purchases during the year might have included the latest flat screen television, an antique curio cabinet, or even business personal property such as computers, printers, etc. that are part of your home office.

 How Much Stuff Do I Have?

To answer the question “how much stuff do I have”, we like to say that if you could rip the roof off your home and shake it upside down, anything that falls out is your personal property; your inventory of items.

Unfortunately, over time the items we purchase may exceed the insurance records we’ve filed away or we fail to account for an increase in number or dollar value of items accumulated.  Equally important, we forget to update our insurance agent about increased (or even decreased) personal property and coverage amounts associated with the policy.  This means that when there is a loss, the policy coverages may not appropriately cover a personal property claim.

 Electronic Home Inventory

Even when we keep great receipts, with catastrophe looming these are often the last thing we think of when grabbing valuables during an evacuation.  Today’s technology offers a variety of ways to maintain an electronic home inventory.

Lots of free spreadsheets, tools, and utilities such as the Insurance Information Institute’s  home inventory software are available on the Internet.  Don’t forget that one of the easiest methods to track your possessions is by using a smart phone, digital camera, or digital video recorder. Simply walk through your home and snap a few frames of each room to capture all angles and walls then save the information via cloud computing services such as email or Internet webmail.

 An up-to-date home inventory can be a stress reliever should disaster occur.  Help your insurance carrier help you by maintaining a current and accurate inventory of your possessions.  For more helpful insurance tips written by independent agents, you can subscribe to the Avanti Reader via RSS or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@AvantiInsurance). As always, thanks for reading.

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