Having home insurance may not be enough to provide the level of protection that your family needs. Another key part of the process is knowing and proving what is actually covered inside your home and on your property.
What's the best way to do this? Take a home inventory. Here are five steps to complete yours today.
Know Your Coverage
The first step to a good inventory is to become familiar with what is actually covered under your policy. Homeowners insurance policies usually come with standard levels of coverage as well as limitations. You may have additional coverage riders for specific situations, such as mold or business property.
As you read and discuss the specifics of your policy with your agent, think about how each line item might apply to your actual property.
Appraise High Value Items
Another good step to take early on is to have professional appraisals done on specific high value items. This generally would include any artwork, collectibles, and antiques. Even if you have an older appraisal, it may be worth getting a new one as the markets for these goods change frequently.
Because appraisals can take time and you may need to pay for some work, get started early so you have accurate values when the rest of the inventory is done.
Decide What to Track
So, what should you focus on when taking a home inventory? Make a list of all things with clear monetary value, like computers and mobile devices, home electronics, and expensive tools or appliances. Depending on your property, you may also want to track specific home improvements or furnishings too. These should be documented separately to ensure that you have sufficient coverage. You can group many smaller items together in logical manners, such as lists of clothing, kitchen items, and basic furniture.
Take Video and Photography
One of the best ways to create an inventory is to match a list of items with photos and video documentation. You can use your cellphone or tablet and store the video or photos in cloud storage to protect them. Take group photos of things like general, low-value items in drawers, but focus in on the model numbers and serial numbers of more expensive goods.
Finally, take the time to gather up any documentation you have on large ticket purchases and store it offsite. This would include the appraisals taken in earlier steps as well as receipts. The more backup proof you have of specific losses, the easier it will be to get proper values and reimbursement or replacements.
These five steps may require a little time and preparation, but the extra effort will be worth it when an emergency arises and you have a loss. And then, home insurance can give what it should — peace of mind and financial protection for your family.