Creating a detailed list of all your belongings may seem like a chore now – but trust us, it’ll be so much more difficult to do if you wait until after disaster strikes.
Having such a list, called a home inventory, plays a significant role in the accuracy and speed of any homeowners insurance claim you might submit for possessions lost in a fire, hurricane, theft, or other calamity. Making your home inventory ahead of time – and keeping it updated – can help relieve stress and speed-up your recovery when you need it most.
What Is a Home Inventory?
A home inventory is a detailed list of all the personal property you own, including descriptions and estimated values, along with receipts, appraisals, and photographs. This record is used for insurance purposes to prove ownership or the value of an item – especially after theft, damage, or total loss.
Your home inventory can be prepared on paper, in an online app, or via an Excel or Word document. You'll definitely want to include photos and video and keep the list together with any relevant receipts/appraisals or other backup documentation. Be sure to store a copy of everything in the cloud or send it to your email, so you’ll have quick and easy access to it at anytime.
How Often to Update Your Home Inventory?
It's important to periodically update your home inventory so it accurately reflects the current value of your belongings. Plan to update your inventory once a year – as well as on those occasions when you acquire or offload a high-value item. Updating your home inventory should be a breeze once it’s already created.
Benefits of a Home Inventory
A home inventory of all your belongings can benefit you in a variety of ways. For example, an up-to-date home inventory can help you:
- Understand your net worth & how much insurance coverage you’ll need
- Prove ownership and value of your possessions
- Eliminate the time and stress of having to remove items no longer there
- Submit an accurate and thorough insurance claim
- Expedite and simplify the claims process
- Maximize your personal property claim payout
With a home inventory, you’ll be able to quickly provide your insurer with the documentation they require to reimburse you. Of course, the more thorough your home inventory, the faster the claims process will be.
No Home Inventory? Expect Delays
Without a home inventory, sitting down to describe all the cherished belongings you’ve lost after a fire, theft, or other disaster can be frustrating, extremely time-consuming, and downright heartbreaking. You’re left to reverse-engineer a home inventory: spending additional time to research, value, and document everything you once loved and is now gone. You may need to include statements by witnesses, family members, and neighbors about items you once owned. Often, homeowners will have to request additional time to submit their claim due to all the work involved in this task.
Try It Yourself! Can You Recall ALL the Items in Your Home?
Imagine the following scenario: Faulty wiring in your utility room starts a fire in the middle of the day while you’re away from home. The fire destroys your utility room, living room, and spare bedroom (used primarily for storage) before firefighters put the fire out. There was also extensive smoke damage throughout the rest of the home. You immediately call your insurance agent to submit a claim with your insurance company. However, in the chaotic aftermath of the fire, you can't recall everything you had in the destroyed rooms – especially all the random items you’ve stored away in the spare room over the years.
Making a detailed list of everything you lost in the fire is critical to being fairly compensated by your insurer. Chances are you'll remember the big-ticket items as well as those you use every day. But what about grandma's rare book collection you inherited years ago, the custom-made formal wear you like to put on for special occasions, or your collection of autographed movie memorabilia?
Try it right now. List every item in your living room you can remember – then test your recollection the next time you're in the living room to see just how much you’ve forgotten. Smaller items, especially when they're tucked away in drawers, cabinets, or closets can be impossible to recall – and their value, which can really add up, may be lost forever.
Speed Your Next Insurance Claim With a Home Inventory
At Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, we want to make sure everything of value to you is protected. By taking the time to create a home inventory now, you’ll be sure to make the claims process after a disaster as quick and streamlined as possible.
As you update your home inventory, if you notice you need to increase or remove coverage, doing so is as easy as contacting your agent now. If you’re not currently insured with us, you can get things started with a quick and easy online quote.