As I’ve discussed in the past, having home/renters insurance can help ease your pain should you suffer theft or damage to your domicile due to fire, wind, a tree crashing on to your roof, etc. One of the benefits of the policy is not only will it pay to repair the damages, it covers your personal property. So if you have a fire in your home and items are burned beyond repair or damaged due to smoke or the water used to douse the flames, you are able to receive funds to replace those items.
And this is where my question comes into play. Knowing what, when and how much you paid for your “stuff”, especially bigger ticket items such as TV’s, furniture, electronics, appliances, etc, makes the claims and payment process so much smoother. So what should you do? Make a home inventory! There are even iOS and Android apps that will help you create and store the information.
So what should you include in your personal inventory? Everything is ideal and this is where taking photos or videos of your belongings in their natural habitat can streamline the process! For each item you include in your inventory you should note the following:
- Room in the home where the item is located.
- A full description of the item and how many you have of each.
- The date you purchased the item (to your best recollection).*
- What you originally paid for the item.*
- An estimate of the current value of the item.
- Serial and model number, if applicable.
- Photos or video of the items.
- And receipts or appraisals (important for jewelry and collectibles). *All those receipts you shoved in a shoebox will now have a purpose!
Now, why would you go through this effort? Simple, the more information and proof you can provide to your adjustor, the faster a claim can be settled and you can begin to rebuild or replace items lost. And conducting a home inventory may just turn up some items that you may need to have added to your policy as a “scheduled item” to ensure they are properly covered.
Yes, there are limits within your policy as to what is covered for items such as jewelry, collectibles (think silverware, jewelry, tapestries, art, antiques, etc). If you have inherited your grandmother’s engagement ring that is valued at $8,000, that’s not going to be covered under the standard personal property limits. In this instance, you would need to add it as a “scheduled item” and will be asked to provide an appraisal from a jeweler. This will ensure that items that are valued beyond the standard limits of the policy are covered.
I know, it sounds like a lot of work. BUT before the warm winds of spring arrive, take a weekend to take a stroll around your home and take photos or video, use one of the apps and make your own list. And if the rules of the universe apply, as usual, having the inventory will mean you will never need to use it for a claim.
If you come across any items that you are not sure if they are fully covered under your current policy, give our office a call and one of our agents would be happy to review your current coverage and see if there are any gaps that we can fill. This is especially important if you’ve bought, received as gifts or inherited items since we wrote your home/renters policy.
One more thing, you should know whether you have actual cash value (ACV) or replacement costs on your policy. ACV will assign the current value to an item, so that couch you bought six years ago for $1,200 is not worth $1,200 today, the value will be assessed based on a deduction for depreciation. Again, we are happy to look at your specific policy and let you know your current coverage and discuss any changes you may need or want.