Thinking about creating a home inventory list for insurance may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. The key is to have a record of your possessions in the event you experience a theft or loss from flood, fire, or other disasters.
The more thorough you document your belongings, the less likely you’re to run into problems when you file an insurance claim. It’s a smart investment to purchase a digital camera and a fireproof safe to create and store your home inventory.
Take pictures of your belongings. Photos of all your belongings goes a long way with regards to demonstrating possession and value. Digital photos are ideal, since they’re easier to print and store. Be sure to get full-room shots, as well as close-ups of items. You’ll also want to take photos of your possessions located in cabinets, closets and drawers.
Prepare a written home inventory. Photos are part of the inventory, but they’re not enough. Prepare a written home inventory so you’ll have it handy if you ever need to file a claim. Your insurance company will ask for a copy. Include as many details as possible, such as purchase dates, brand names, serial numbers, and estimated costs. Be sure to attach receipts to your home inventory list. It’s a good idea to keep a copy in a bank safe-deposit box, in case your home is damaged or destroyed.
Safe ways to store your records. When backing up digital files, a USB drive can be useful. Simply copy the files onto the drive and keep it safe, preferably away from your home. You can also stash the drive in an emergency bag, to be stored somewhere accessible in case you need to evacuate immediately. A bank safe-deposit box is the safest place to store paper records, drives, and other valuables. If you would rather keep some of your important documents close at home, consider a fireproof safe, which is usually waterproof too.
When your home inventory files are electronic, it’s quite simple to use an online backup system to keep digital copies outside of your home. That’s a big plus if your computer is stolen or destroyed. Some backup services like Dropbox or Mozy offer limited storage space for free. You’ll want to determine which backup service meets your needs.
If you have any questions on how your particular insurance company handles inventories, or its suggested methods, be sure to contact your personal agent directly.