A home inventory is a list of all your personal possessions along with their approximate financial value. It can be valuable when you need to file a claim because it helps your insurance company verify your damaged property. That not only helps you get your claim settled faster, but it also minimizes your chances of forgetting to include an item in your claim.
Some people even inventory their items before they apply for home insurance. That way they get a better sense of how much personal property coverage they need.
In fact, 49 percent of homeowners have made a home inventory of their belongings.
Your insurance company most likely won’t require you to have a home inventory, but it might ask for a sworn proof of loss when you file a claim. “Sworn proof of loss” is an official, notarized sworn statement demonstrating the facts about your loss, the scope of damage, and the value of your personal items that were lost, damaged, or stolen in a way that’s covered by your homeowners policy.
That can be a lot to deal with, especially if you’re dealing with, say, the aftermath of a hurricane. But if you do a room-by-room home inventory before trouble hits, you have many of the documents you need to support your claim. This typically results in a faster, more accurate claims settlement. Plus, you’ll be able to prove eligibility for tax deductions or disaster assistance.
Another good reason to take inventory of your belongings is to make sure you get enough personal property coverage. Listing the value of each individual item presents a clearer picture of how much you’d be out if you suffered a total loss.
A good home inventory should have the following information when it’s available for each item of personal property:
Remember to include off-site items in your home inventory, such as belongings you keep at a storage facility or in a garage. Home insurance policies typically cover those items.
How you organize your home inventory depends on what makes sense for you. Maybe you want to focus on your valuables first. Or perhaps you’d rather go room to room. Whichever way you start, you can use our handy home inventory template and worksheet to keep track.
Here are some tips for organizing your home inventory:
After your inventory is complete, compare the estimated value of your belongings against your insurance coverage. The easiest way to do that is to look at your declarations page. It lists each coverage type with the dollar amount your insurance company pays for that type of claim.
Your personal property is covered by Coverage C, but it may also be noted on your dec page as coverage limits for “contents.” Whatever it’s called, check the limits. Does it appear to be enough to replace all of your furniture, rugs, curtains, clothes, appliances, and other possessions? If not, call your insurance provider to discuss increasing your limit.
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