Don’t fall victim into thinking that a catastrophe could never happen to you. Statistics indicate that in 2010 there were over 300,000 house fires, resulting in $6.9 billion dollars in property damage. 37% of these house fires originated in the kitchen from a cooking accident being the cause of a fire.
As a precautionary measure, what is your best plan of action?
Besides being careful with your food preparation and having a kitchen fire extinguisher always within reach, do a home inventory. It may be a very tedious task and it’s not on the top of anyone’s agenda of enjoyable things to do. But, if you were to think about all of the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years and if they were destroyed in a house fire, do you think you would be able to remember it all? It’s not just the actual items that you would need to recall, but the approximate date of purchase and value, as well. So, not only would you be dealing with the loss and heartache of a house fire, you will be burdened with the stress of making an inventory AFTER the fact. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify your losses for an income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
Here is what to do to get started.
Don’t put it off! Once you’ve realized the importance of a home inventory, do not delay! If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, the task will be more complicated. However, it is still better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. A good place to start is with your most recent purchases then proceeding backwards through your older possessions.
Make a detailed list of your possessions. Describe each item and make a note to as where each was purchased and its make and model. Add to your list any sales receipts (make photocopies for they will last longer), purchase contracts and appraisals you may have. For clothing, count and itemize them by category such as pants, coats, shoes, for example. Make notations on items that are especially valuable (such as Chanel, Prada). As for major appliance and electronic equipment, record all of the serial numbers (it can be found either on the back or bottom of the item).
Insure big ticket items separately. Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles usually increase in value from the day you purchase them. It’s a good idea to check with an insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate coverage for these items.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Besides the list, take pictures of all the rooms as well as important individual items within them. On the back of the photo or as a photo file name if saved digitally, note the name of item shown and where you purchased it. Don’t forget any important items that may be in closets or drawers.
Videotape it. Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents or do the same thing using a tape recorder.
Use a personal computer. Use your PC to make your inventory list. There are personal finance software packages that often include a homeowner room-by-room inventory program.
Securely store the inventory list, photos and tapes. Regardless of how you record your household items (written list, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep this information along with any receipts and records in a safe deposit box, at a friend’s or relative’s home. This way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is ever damaged by fire or even robbed.
Keep your records up to date. Every time you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
Attached we have included a sample of a homeowners inventory checklist that you can download for your use to get your inventory list started. Home Inventory Checklist
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for all insurance needs. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. So, we strongly advise to check with an insurance representative to address your specific needs. However, you can also contact us for any questions or concerns and we will be happy to help you. We can offer a complete line of personal & commercial insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.