Is Your Home Inventory Current?

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With a variety of storm seasons rapidly approaching, a home inventory is something that should be at the forefront of your mind. In the event you are forced to file an insurance claim to replace lost or damaged belongings, having a home inventory can streamline the process. Since it is virtually impossible to list everything you own from memory, especially when you factor in details such as purchase dates and serial numbers, having a home inventory is in the best interest of every insured person, be they home owners or renters.

Having a detailed list of the items that were damaged, destroyed, or stolen is required for the filing of an insurance claim. If you have this list with the specifics for each item on it, getting a more accurate replacement value is possible is well. For example, if you guess that you had X model and really had Y model, you may be compensated for X model when in truth the Y model you had was more costly and served more purpose in your home and life.

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To accompany your home inventory list, having photos and/or video is a good idea. By photographing and/or videoing the contents of your home, you will have visual documentation to back up the items listed on paper. That way, if there is any sort of question, all you have to do is look through your pictures or pull up footage for an answer.

When compiling a home inventory, things to include are:
  • Description of your possessions, including make/model/manufacturer and serial number.
  • Date items were purchased and receipts showing cost.
  • Estimated replacement value.
  • Photo and video documentation of possessions.
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Things to remember when it comes to insurance:

  • Be sure you have the necessary amount of coverage. It is easy to guess the value of the contents of your home but chances are you might guess low. Have you ever truly evaluated the cost of every pair of socks, every dish, every towel that you own? The amount of money in your home just might surprise you.
  • Some items may only qualify for limited coverage, which is often the case with artwork and jewelry. Knowing this ahead of time will enable you to purchase the additional coverage (a rider) necessary so those items will be fully covered.
  • It is important to know whether your items are covered at 'actual cash value' or 'replacement cost.' Actual cash value is less than replacement cost because it takes into account depreciation. Replacement cost is a wise choice because when it does come time to replace those items, insurance monies for actual cash value will not stretch as far.
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Having a home inventory is priceless, but it is only as good as the storage method you use to keep it safe. Should your home be lost to a disaster and your only record of inventory was in that home, you are going to be faced with a problem. Because of this, home inventories should be kept safe and stored in a location where they will not be easily lost or damaged. This could be in a place such as a safe deposit box or at the home of family or friends. In addition to keeping your home inventory safe in a disaster, you should have plans for other important documents. Insurance can replace stuff, but it cannot replace paperwork that is unique to you, so be sure to cover yourself on all levels to ensure that even when a loss occurs it does not have to be any larger than necessary.

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