Homeowner’s insurance is there to protect you in the event of a disaster like a fire. But with all the items in an average household, it’s imperative that you document your belongings so that you can file an accurate and timely claim should disaster hit. Could you imagine trying to recount every single item in your home that was damaged, destroyed or stolen? Here are the three components of an effective home inventory:
Photos or video. You can take photos or video, but you’ll want shots of entire rooms and close-ups of items such as electronics, jewelry, collectibles, guns or any individual items of significant value. It’s a good idea if you’re using video to provide a narration as you walk through each room, explaining what you are recording.
A written inventory. You’ll also want to prepare a written inventory of your belongings. Use a blank sheet of paper or a worksheet like this one from the National Association of Realtors. You also can use software – the Insurance Information Institute offers free, easy-to-use online home inventory software called Know Your Stuff. Include receipts, serial numbers or any other identifying information.
Safe storage. If you have a fireproof safe, keep both your visual and written inventories there or in another safe place. You also may want to keep a copy off-site as well, in a safe-deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. Is your inventory saved completely electronically? Make sure it’s backed up.