One critical aspect of purchasing a new home is assuring that the structure and the content are all covered with a Homeowners Insurance policy. If you’re getting a mortgage loan Homeowners Insurance is mandatory. The monthly premium will become part of your monthly escrow account. Important! Never allow your Homeowners Insurance to lapse. Doing so may force your lender to apply a third party insurance policy and at a much higher rate. If you are changing your plan from one insurance provider to another, be sure the lender knows of the change and allow some overlap, so there are NO gaps in coverage.
Knowing how much coverage your need can be challenging. Your insurance company will be best able to determine the coverage needed for the structure, but what about content, you know all your stuff?
If you had the terrible misfortune of a fire, flood, or other significant disasters, would you recall all your possessions? If you have an ongoing, up-to-date inventory handling, your claim will be much more accurate and timely.
How to start building a home inventory
The best time to start building a home inventory is during the move into your new home. But you can do this after you have already settled into your home. The key is to get started and develop a system for tracking your possessions. There are some great apps available to help you to do this. With modern technology, your smartphone will be your best friend. Building a home inventory for your homeowners’ insurance
- Start Somewhere. Think big a first! Large furniture will help you get the hang of it. Take photos and or videos and locate any Model or Serial numbers. Take pictures of any identifying record, too, and document what your photographing.
- What’s it worth. Knowing how much you paid for an item will help you recover the value. Keeping receipts and or a good record of purchases in a software program like Quicken or Quick Books can be invaluable. If you still do not know, try to an internet search for the item for current value.
- Major Appliance–Electronics Nearly all electronic equipment and appliances will have serial and model numbers. Be sure to capture those for your records and archives.
- What about clothes? Clothes are expensive, and their value adds up quickly when disaster strikes. Consider bulk inventory here. How many shirts, pairs of shoes, hats, sweaters, etc. Take a photo of your many shirts and label the count.
- Special Coverage. Many fine arts, collectibles, jewelry, weapons can change in value depending on trends and markets. You should check with your insurance agent or company about coverage. Often valuable, such as these require individual coverage.
- Garage Content. Don’t forget the garage! We all store a lot of things in our garages, much of it has value if not significant. Be sure to document any appliance, lawn equipment, tools, and toys.
- Stored Items. Be sure to document any items you may have in a storage facility. If something catastrophic happens, you want a fair insurance settlement for your stored stuff.
- You can do this. Take it one step at a time and pace yourself. It’s a big task, but the dividends can be significant. Invest the time to protect your valuables and your finances.
- Archive it. This one is important! Once your inventory is complete, make several archives. Keep one on your computer, for example, but also store one in “the cloud” or off-site storage products like Google, DropBox, Amazon, and many others. Keep a copy on an external hard-drive, something you can grab quickly in an emergency. Having multiple copies in different locations is imperative.
- Next Steps. After you have accomplished this home inventory assignment keeping up with it will be much easier. When you purchase something new, make a copy (electronic or otherwise) take a photo or video and note those vital model and serial numbers.
Applications (Software) for a home inventory. There are many to choose from, and you may need to select one based on your device or the operating system you utilize. Here are just a few; we are not providing an opinion for any of these products.
- Home Inventory
- My Stuff
- Nest Egg
We are by your side every step of the way. If you have questions about Homeowners Insurance or need a referral to a local knowledgable agent we are happy to help.