Friday, October 4, 2013

Household Inventory For Home Insurance Purposes

You may think you're ready to start comparing home insurance quotes to get the best deal on coverage, but there is one more thing you can do to improve the process. Creating a household inventory is a smart move that can go a long way toward ensuring you get the right protection at the best price. And it can also save you a lot of stress down the road should any unfortunate events unfold.

A 2012 National Association of Insurance Commissioners survey found that 59 percent of Americans have never created an official inventory of their belongings. Looking deeper into the minority of people who had actually made a record of their possessions, the survey found that only 48 percent of that group held onto receipts, and only 28 percent safely stored a copy of the official inventory document outside of their home.

You can do better. Make sure you're one of the smart homeowners who gets properly prepared before they even start looking for home insurance quotes. Just follow some easy steps:

Start With a Notebook

This is a good place to begin. Simply writing the names of items and briefly describing them is a positive first step toward protecting your valuable belongings. The description should include where and when you bought it, as well as information about its make and model. Any receipts, appraisals, or purchase contracts should be clipped onto the page.

Covering Big Ticket Items

For appliances, electronic devices, and similar items, you should write down the serial numbers for extra description. Works of art, jewelry, and other collectibles may require special measures because their value may have gone up since you purchased them. It would be wise to ask an agent about insuring these items separately. Still, you should make sure you list and describe each one.

Pictures

Adding pictures of rooms and valuable items to your inventory will significantly improve your chances of getting the right coverage. This provides visual proof to back up your list of belongings.

Videotape

This takes things a step further. Using a video camera allows you to add commentary and description to the visual proof you are recording. Having a document that includes your voice and clearly shows you handling your possessions is as close to irrefutable proof of ownership as you can get. For people who feel comfortable on camera, this is always a recommended step to take.

Storage

Obviously you don't want to keep the inventory list in your home. Should the worst happen, the document could be lost or destroyed. The best solution might be a safe deposit box, but in the right situation it could be just as safe at a friend or relatives house. You'll still want to have some access to it, because you'll have to add any new items that you acquire.

Be Prepared

On average, homeowners only receive around 50 percent of their home's insured value after a catastrophe. That means it's very important to identify all the items of value in your house before you even start looking for home insurance quotes. If you establish the full value of the contents of your house, you will receive more reimbursement should you ever have to start over.

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