How to Create a Home Inventory
Keeping track of your possessions, big and small, offers a multitude of benefits. Filing insurance claims is far easier when your property is documented. Plus, financial and estate planning are far easier to conduct when your belongings are noted in a home inventory list.
DIY Home Inventory vs. Hiring a Specialist
Homeowners have two options when it comes to creating a home inventory. You can carefully document all your possessions via a DIY route. Alternately, for a more official home inventory, to which insurance companies will give more credibility, hire a home inventory specialist.
Hiring a pro to achieve the task is affordable, especially in the event that theft or disaster damage occurs. Using an inventory service carries more weight when law enforcement and financial planners are involved. The inventory data is also securely stored and encrypted. The whole process is completed in under a week.
Benefits of Hiring Home Inventory Specialist
The advantages of bringing in a professional are many. However, savvy homeowners can achieve all of the benefits of hiring a pro when they complete the inventory checklist themselves. To get started, set aside a generous amount of time over a few weekends and get access to technology.
When conducting a home inventory, be prepared to show proof that you own the property in your home. Cameras, video cameras, software and scanners are essential for accurately recording your belongings and, most importantly, satisfying insurance company requests for evidence of ownership.
How to Create a Home Inventory: Common Questions
What technology options help create an inventory checklist?
Sortly is a mobile app, available for both Android and iOS devices, that allows homeowners to record the serial numbers, purchase dates, photos and photos of the receipts of items. This important data is stored on the Cloud for safekeeping. Alternately, free apps may be available from insurance companies.
Home inventory websites, like www.whatyouown.com, feature built-in search engines that easily find items as well as capabilities that allow users to attach videos, PDFs, and Excel files. User-friendly sites like this also give users the ability to print custom reports. Plans come with a fee.
Once you are armed with a smartphone or digital camera, notepad and pen, you are ready to begin the process to create a home inventory. If you prefer the traditional paper-and-pencil route, use an inventory form provided for free by your insurer.
What items are to be included in the inventory list?
Everything in your home has worth, no matter how small its price tag. A rule of thumb to remember is that every item in your home has value. Items that generally are not included in home inventory lists are perishable foods and temporary supplies (like pencils and paper).
Ordinary, everyday items, like pans, utensils and dinnerware, should be included in the home inventory list. In the event of a home fire or water damage, these daily essentials will have to be replaced. Speed up insurance claims with proper documentation of belongings with even minimum value.
Property housed offsite, like in a rented storage facility, should also be a part of the home inventory list. Homeowners’ insurance policies cover goods stored in self-storage facilities, so be sure to include these items in the home inventory checklist.
What details are to be included in the home inventory report?
As you move through the home documenting items, make notes about the following details: model, serial number, cost, purchase date and manufacturer. Once you have multiple photos, including closeups, or video footage, scan the purchase receipts and note the estimated replacement values.
Does a home inventory list need to be updated?
Throughout the year, homeowners will accumulate more valued goods, making updates to the home inventory a necessity. The start of each new year is the ideal time to update the inventory list. Photos should be taken of received gifts and newly purchased items.
Plus, homeowners may find themselves in situations where the estimated worth of their home inventory surpasses the maximum amount allowed on their insurance policy. In such cases, the insurance policy should be updated or a rider purchased to factor in the increased value.
What is the safest way to store a home inventory list?
After spending hours creating a home inventory list, keeping it secure is important. Recommended, offsite places to store the list include in a bank’s safe deposit box or with your lawyer. Make a backup copy of the physical list. Retain digital files safely online or on an external drive.
If you are using an app to document your possessions, be sure to understand the app’s policies on accessing your inventory list. Plus, be aware of whether or not the data you enter into the app is automatically backed up.
Creating a home inventory list can become overwhelming. The few weekends you devote to documenting your property, however, is well worth the investment in the event of a home fire, flood or vandalism. Establishing the value of your goods allows insurance companies to properly reimburse losses.
Work with a Restoration Company
When your home is engulfed in floodwaters or a fire devastates your property, you are left with a pricey repair and a potential loss of goods. Reduce the chances of your home undergoing further financial and property losses by immediately contacting a water damage or fire damage restoration company.
These professional technicians are experts in both water damage restoration and fire damage restoration. Water and fire damage are emergency situations. Water damage, like fire damage, spreads rapidly if it is not addressed promptly. Specialists will work quickly to stabilize the ruin caused by water or fire and restore your home to its pre-damaged condition. They will also help homeowners and business owners file insurance claims.