Why do I need to make a home inventory for my Florida homeowners insurance and how do I take one?
Why is a Home Inventory so Important?
Ask yourself…could you make a list of everything in your home from memory, without going room by room? If your answer is no (like most of us), then a home inventory is a necessity to make sure that you are fairly compensated by your insurance company if you suffer a loss. Insurance companies are not in the habit of writing checks on guesses or estimates, especially when it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. They will want an itemized list which is not easily created, especially just after a terrible loss like a fire or hurricane. A Home Inventory will also help you determine the amount of insurance coverage you need.
What to Include in Your Home Inventory?
EVERYTHING! The first items that come to mind are usually the most obvious: furniture, appliances, electronics, artwork, jewelry and treasured keepsakes. But don’t forget the occasionally overlooked draperies, carpets, toys, clothing, etc. Every item in your home needs to be documented. Video tapes, photographs and receipts are invaluable records in a home inventory as well.
How to do a Home Inventory
It may seem like a daunting task, trying to take stock of everything you have in your home. You have to start with a plan of how you will record all these items, either on paper or on an audio cassette or CD. You should have pictures of all the items as well because this will really expedite your dealings with the insurance company.
You can use pen & paper or inventory software is an excellent alternative. The Insurance Information Institute offers home inventory software called Know Your Stuff (www.KnowYourStuff.org). This software is not complicated to use and even makes creating a home inventory enjoyable. It contains an inventory wizard along with the ability to store digital or scanned photographs and receipts. Once you have completed your inventory, it is easy to keep your information up-to-date and maintain an accurate record of all your possessions.
Getting started is easy, just take one room at a time. Itemize everything in each room. Include a description or make/model info, price paid, purchase date, etc. Include stuff like furniture, electronics and appliances and don’t forget things like drapes, home decor, DVDs, toys, books and everything in between. Remember, if you don’t include it in your inventory, your insurance wont include it in the check to replace it if something happens…so be thorough. Include copies of receipts, appraisals for artwork, collectibles and jewelry and anything that will help value the unique items in your house.
Take photos of each room or videotape the room as you walk through your home. You can record the inventory on your computer backing it up with a disc or CD. You should probably store the record in a location other than somewhere in the home, because if the home is destroyed by fire, the inventory will also be destroyed.
As you buy more furniture or appliances and get rid of others, you should update your home inventory. Once you get into the habit of recording new items that you buy, and save the sales receipts, it will become a regular part of your financial records as the record of your bills and payments. A small effort can pay off if anything devastating should happen that requires you to file a claim on your home insurance.