IFS Online: Insurance & Financial Services News

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Both Homeowners & Renters Need a Home Inventory

(INSWEB Oct. 2007)

Can you accurately list from memory everything in your house? How many necklaces and rings do you have, DVDs in your movie library, and exactly what type of digital camera you own? Most people struggle to answer such questions, let alone in a crisis situation.. This is why the need for creating a home inventory is so important!

A Basic Home Inventory:
If you haven't created a home inventory, thinking of starting one can seem like a monumental task, especially if you’ve been living in your home for a long time. While the best time to start your list is when you’re just starting out in your first home or apartment, or have just moved to a new home, it can still be an achievable task in that home you’ve lived in for several years. Just go through your house or apartment one room at a time.

Try to get serial numbers for the big ticket items, and write down when, where, and for what price you purchased each item. Make sure you remember to go into closets, cupboards, and storage areas and write down the items in these as well. While some items you own have depreciated in replacement price (televisions, electronics, furniture, etc.), some items may have increased in value (such as art, jewelry, and collectibles). You may need to insure these items separately; check with your insurance agent and find out if your current policy adequately covers these valuables.

Take Pictures or a Video of Your Belongings:
It is a good idea to take pictures or make a video of the items in your home. If you take pictures, write the details of the items on the pack of the picture. If you make a video, narrate as you walk from room to room (what items are in the room, when and where you bought them and for how much). Photographing or videotaping your home’s inventory can be especially helpful if items are hard to describe on paper, or for items you do not have receipts for.

Store Your List in a Safe Spot:
Make sure you store your list, pictures, and/or DVD or video tape in a safe spot. While it’s a good idea to have a copy at home, make sure you have at least one additional copy outside your home. If you only have one copy inside your home (or on your home computer) and your home burns down, that list won’t do you any good. If your inventory is on your computer, make a disk or CD and store it elsewhere, and/or send your list to yourself at work or to your web-based email account so you can access it in places other than your home.

Keep Those Receipts:
Many of us are not great at keeping our receipts for the purchases we make. Now that you’ve read this article, make sure you keep receipts from now on, especially for those big ticket items. These receipts will help you settle your homeowners or renters insurance claim as quickly as possible. And remember; keep receipts (or copies of them) in a place besides your home, along with a copy of your home inventory.

3 Comments:

  • Hi. This is a very important post. Keeping track of one's belongings and purchases is often hard, inconvenient and time-consuming.

    I currently work for a new service that can help everyone address the last point on this post about receipts. The free service from Shoeboxed.com (www.shoeboxed.com) is centered around receipt organization online. By becoming a Shoeboxed user, all your online and paper receipts can be conveniently organized in personal, secure accounts online. You will then have all of your stuff in one place!

    Our latest service called Shoeboxed Mail-In, dubbed the "Netflix for receipts" by recent press coverage, allows users to mail Shoeboxed receipts for us to scan and upload onto the appropriate accounts.
    Shoeboxed is leading the way to greater receipt organization. Check the site out today, and sign up for Shoeboxed.com!

    -Etienne

    By Blogger Etienne, at 2:48 PM  

  • I completely agree Etienne. As you said you can help out with the receipt storing part, the company I am launching can help out with the rest.

    MyVault is a new online based home inventory platform that is extremely easy to use and as secure as online banking. I'd like to invite you and all other readers to check out the home page where you can sign up to test out the Beta version for free which should be out just before the summer. As a thank you for testing it out we are offering 6 free months of service once it is live.

    And keep up with the good articles, I look forward to reading more of them!

    Ryan
    Founder - MyVault
    www.myvaulthome.com

    By Blogger RyanG, at 12:27 PM  

  • Serialtrak is a company that provides a home inventory which would be invaluable in the unfortunate incident of a fire, natural disaster or burglary. The process is very simple, and depending on the size of your property, can usually be completed in less than two hours.

    First they digitally record the entire exterior and interior of your home or business. This is done to document the current condition of the walls, doors and flooring. Next they go room to room recording and photographing every item worth more than $50. They include details such as purchase price, serial numbers and model numbers. They will include items in a garage or storage area if necessary. If the customer chooses they can also mark valuable property using an INVIS-ID kit, which is invisible ink. Police recommend this procedure because in the case of theft it makes your property easier for them to track.

    Third, they place Serialtrak Home Inventory Stickers on the exterior of your residence stating in English and Spanish that your property has been recorded and photographed. This is an effective way to deter burglars from your property.

    Finally, they load all of the information onto their website so that you can have access to the inventory from anywhere and at any time. They create a CD of your inventory as well as a paper copy. In the case of a burglary, fire or other natural disaster they will help your insurance company and the police get a copy as soon as possible. Storing this important information away from your home assures that you will have it should you become the victim of fire or burglary.

    Apartment inventories start as low as $29 and homes start at $99.

    For more information about Serialtrak see their website at www.serialtrak.com or call 1-877-SRL-TRAK.

    By Blogger Jason, at 5:03 PM  

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