Why You Need A Home Inventory (And How To Do It For Free)

November 11th, 2015 by admin

Why-You-Need A Home Inventory (And How To Do It For Free)

An up-to-date home inventory is an important tool for helping to piece together the inventory of your home in the event that a disaster or theft occurs and you need to file an insurance claim. There are many reasons it is necessary to not only create a thorough home inventory, but also to update it regularly.

Why Do You Need a Home Inventory?

It’s a straightforward question that baffles many homeowners and renters who have insurance. The bottom line is that insurance companies can’t simply afford to take your word for it. They have to take a “trust but verify approach” instead.

A detailed property inventory helps them to verify that you have specific possessions covered by insurance. But that isn’t the only reason an inventory is necessary for homeowners. The following reasons are important as well.

  • Simplifies the claims process.
  • Helps you avoid forgetting items when filing a claim.
  • Ensures that your insurance coverage is adequate for the possessions you have.
  • Identifies areas that may need a rider policy or run the risk of exceeding policy limits.
  • Verifies your losses for tax purposes.

You’ll find as you’re sorting through your possessions in the aftermath of a fire, tornado, or other covered event, that you aren’t always thinking clearly. It would be easy to miss important and expensive items you’ve lost if you don’t have a home inventory with the latest information about the contents of your home.

What Information Needs to be on a Home Inventory?

Aside from the obvious detailed descriptions of the items in your home you should also include serial numbers, purchase dates, and estimated values of these items. If you have a fire and/or water proof safe, consider also storing the receipts for major purchases along with physical images of high value items.

Manage your inventory one room at a time, walking through each room and listing everything in the room. In addition to standard photos, consider taking a video of all the items in the room. Sometimes viewing the video will help to jog your memory when creating the list or let you see items you overlooked

How to Record Your Inventory for Free

Pen and paper may have been the standards of the past. But, unless you’re storing the information somewhere outside your home it can be for naught as a fire, tornado, or similar event can destroy any and all documents inside the home.

We’ve created an free document that you can download and fill out on your computer.

home_inventory

Download the Excel version

This will help you create an efficient record of your home’s inventory. Just remember to store the information in Dropbox or a similar cloud service in case your computer is destroyed. You can also print it out and keep a hard copy at a friend or family member’s house, store it in a safe deposit box, and/or send it to your independent insurance agent.  We also recommend storing a copy on a thumb drive and keeping it in a safe place.

Similarly, the Insurance Center of New Jersey has an app that enables you to take a home inventory for free.  You can download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Once again, though, be sure to record the information elsewhere so that you will have a copy should you become separated from your smartphone during a disaster that leaves the device destroyed.

Keeping an up-to-date inventory of your possessions is a good practice for your own needs as well as for the sake of your insurance. Get in the practice of updating every time you make a major purpose or at least quarterly throughout the year.

For more information about homeowners insurance and help with your home inventory, please contact us at info@icnj.com or 201-525-1100.