Homeowners Insurance; it’s not just about paying your premiums…
What if you actually need to call on your insurance company for a claim of loss? Do you have a homeowners insurance inventory of everything? (They’re going to ask).
Worst case, what if you lose your home in a house fire or other major disaster? When your insurance company asks for a list of what you lost, how will you possibly be able to remember everything inside the home? You’ll never remember it all!
Especially during the time frame immediately following the disaster, you may not be thinking too clearly.
Have Proof of Contents
The best way to be sure that your homeowners insurance will pay for your lost items (up to whatever limits you have) is to have proof.
The most tedious method is to document and inventory all of the items in a list (paper or computer record). Keep it off-site somewhere not in your home, or maybe a digital file in the cloud. Or on a USB drive hanging on your keychain. Consider a good fire rated safe at home.
Since most people will procrastinate taking the time to physically list a homeowners insurance inventory, a very simple method is to video everything in your home.
The Easy Way
This is so easy to do that there should be no excuse not to video inventory everything once you have read this post. Nearly everyone has a smart phone. Use it to selectively capture a video record of home contents.
Similarly you might just take digital pictures for an inventory record.
Be very methodical about the video or picture taking process so there will be no question regarding your insurance claim and homeowners inventory.
One room at a time, video and pan the entire room, s-l-o-w-l-y. Then, open the closets and do the same. Contents in drawers. Open each one and video contents within. Well, maybe except your…
Open your jewelry box. Look everywhere. Think about everything of value. You will not miss anything so long as you systematically go through each room and every space in the room.
Don’t forget the basement, attic, or garage where you may have stored items.
You will be surprised at the number of items and ‘things’ that you have tucked away here and there. Many of them will have tangible value (it all adds up). There may be items that you have forgotten about too.
Tip: After video or photos, it’s even better to document a list of those items. Start with highest value first. Enter a value too. The more data the better.
Keep Homeowners Insurance Inventory Records Outside the Home
Now this is the most important part:
When you’re done with documenting (video and/or pictures, and/or digital documenation), secure the inventory list (digital files) from potential damage.
Don’t just keep the USB flash drive in your desk drawer at home. If your home burns down or is damaged/destroyed in some manner, you’ll lose it.
Tip: You might want to encrypt the USB drive. Many new flash drives come with a utility already installed to encrypt it.
Within this flash drive you might consider keeping additional documentation. Perhaps a list of of all your financial accounts. Insurance accounts. Policy numbers and phone numbers for each company. Imagine if your file cabinet at home burns. You will lose ALL information contained within. Again, will you remember EVERYTHING? No, probably not.
A particular USB flash drive that I’ve had on my keychain for years has held up well. I keep many things on it, including homeowners inventory records. It’s the Corsair Survivor Stealth:
The following is the most popular keychain flash drive today: