AAA Says Grab Your Camera, Tour Your Home, Record Your Belongings
When it comes to preparing for a disaster, most people forget one very important thing: a home inventory. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only half of homeowners have an inventory of the possessions they'd want their insurance company to replace in case of a fire, theft or other disasters.
In the aftermath of a fire or other damage to our property, it’s likely many of us would be emotionally drained. The last thing we would want to do is make a list of everything we lost. Preparing in advance for an unexpected disaster could mean a faster return to normal life, and a little less stress along the way, including a quicker claims process.
1. Grab your camera, smartphone, or pen and paper and take a tour of your home.
2. Record everything you'd want your insurance company to replace. Don't forget items that may be hidden away in your closets and garage.
3. Pull together copies of sales receipts and any other documentation. Also note model and serial numbers if you have them.
4. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe and easily accessible place. Don't rely solely on your home computer, which should always be backed up, in case of fire or a hard drive crash. Try a home inventory app to speed up the process. Some apps even let you scan barcodes to autofill product information, a real-time-saver. (When using any app or any technology service, make sure you understand its privacy settings before getting started.)
5. Add up the replacement costs for all of those items to make sure you have enough insurance. Not all policies cover the actual replacement costs, so be sure to check with your insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need. In some cases, an additional endorsement may be needed for valuables like jewelry, cameras, furs, firearms, trading cards, comics or other items. The availability of endorsements varies from state to state; check with your insurance agent to find out which are offered in your area.
What should be on my home inventory list?
Your insurance home inventory should list all of your possessions.
Include items such as:
Appliances (mixer, food processor, humidifier, vacuum cleaner)
Art and collectibles
Clothing and shoes
Dishes, cutlery, silverware, and other utensils
Electronics (TVs, stereos, computers, and accessories)
Furniture and household decor (drapes, lamps, mirrors, rugs)
Maintenance gear (lawnmowers, ladders, workbenches)
Sporting equipment (bicycles, firearms, skis, treadmill)
Creating a simple home inventory helps you track what you own and what it's worth. It can be invaluable in deciding how much insurance coverage you need and ensuring you are protected if you ever need to file a claim.