Doing a proper home inventory for insurance purposes doesn’t just save you a lot of stress in the claims process but can also help you in figuring out how much insurance you actually need. A home inventory is basically a detailed list of every item in your home from things as little as fittings to major items like furniture; as long as you paid for it or you own it, it should be on the list.
A lot of people do not know the exact details that should go into a home inventory list; others make the mistake of thinking that it is only the names of items and quantity of those items that should be included. However, the home inventory is supposed to include the following;
- A proper description of the item (colour size capacity etc.)
- Serial Number
- Purchase Date
- Estimated Value
Here are our four key tips for creating a home inventory list:
1. Walk around the house.
Although this seems obvious a lot of people want to do their home inventories remotely or from memory. This might not be a very good idea because as humans we are bound to forget a few details and those details might be very important. Go from room to room as you create your inventory and organise your list according to the rooms in which the items are found. This way it would be easier and faster to not only record these items but also to trace items in the future.
2. Save receipts.
A foolproof remedy against the problem of human forgetfulness is physical evidence in the form of receipts. Many of us tend to throw out receipts once we’ve had the item for a while and found no reason to return it to the store. You know to get rid of clutter. But that clutter can be very useful. Receipts help you remember not just how much an item costs but also descriptions of the items and that comes in handy when you need to claim. So save your receipts! If you’re really adamant about saving space store your receipts digitally.
3. Take advantage of technology.
Recording your home inventory with paper and pencil is great but you could go one step further and make technology work for you. For starters, you could take pictures of items or entire rooms with your smartphone or digital camera. You should then label the images with the details of the items that you’ve taken shots of – make or model, purchase date, place of purchase, et cetera.
You could also make videos of the inventory taking process. You could just point the video camera at items and say out loud the details of the items e.g. “Dizatone Rechargeable Lamp with its power cord and charging base. Purchased in 2016 at Canadian Tire in Red Deer for $20.”
One very good way to take advantage of tech in making the process easier and much more enjoyable is to make use of mobile apps. Some of these apps are by insurance companies while others are independent apps that help in recording your items, sometimes by simply scanning the barcodes. With the apps, you can store details such as the date of purchase, price, make and model, among other details.
4. Back it up. Store it. Update it.
It is safe to say that this is a very key step in the whole home inventory taking process. The whole essence of taking a home inventory is so you would be able to access it and give the necessary information to your insurance company whenever any damage or theft occurs in your home. As you buy more items for your home make sure to add them to the list as they are still fresh in your memory.
For paper inventories, it is essential you store copies outside your home. Make sure that it is kept along with all the other necessary documents such as valuations and receipts. You can keep these in a safe deposit box or with friends or family. Keeping multiple copies in multiple locations is a good idea.
For digital files such as images and videos, you should have them backed up to a hard disc drive or an online storage account. This is also the same for when you make digital copies of your paper inventory. You should also make sure you have access to the information whenever you need it. If you’re unsure of what to include in your inventory and how many details you need to include give your broker a call; they can help.