You’ve purchased a new renters insurance policy – now what? Many people are unaware that taking a home inventory is the logical next step. Taking an inventory of your possessions for your renters insurance policy ensures you will be reimbursed if you ever have to file a claim. It can also help you purchase the correct amount of insurance if you have not yet bought a policy.
What is a home inventory?
A home inventory is a list of your belongings, and the estimated financial value of each item.
Why do I need one?
If you experience any type of loss, how will you prove to your insurance company what items you own? If you can’t prove what you own, how will you get paid?
Taking a home inventory gives you irrefutable proof of your possessions, ensuring you get the correct reimbursement, and in a timely manner. We’ve all heard claims horror stories – you can avoid this fate by simply taking a home inventory.
How to take a home inventory
Pick a small room to start in. You will list all items of value in the room, and then move on to the next room. Go room-by-room until you have completed the entire apartment. It’s an easy project, just a little time-consuming.
Write down a list of your valuable items, and all items that have serial numbers. Serial numbers on most appliances and electronics are located on the bottom or back of the product.
Stand in the center of the first room you are videotaping, and then take a video of all four walls, slowly panning around the room. You can linger on items of value, and zoom in on serial and model numbers. Describe the items as you record them
You can also snap pictures of valuable items to accompany your list and video.
What do you do with your inventory afterward?
It’s best to save your inventory in a place where it cannot be destroyed. You want to be able to access it from anywhere, even if you experience a total loss. You can email the inventory to yourself for safekeeping. This is a great option, because it keeps the data off-site and ensures that you have easy access to it.
For instance, if your phone or computer is has been destroyed by a fire in your apartment, you’ll still be able to go to the library and log into your email and retrieve the data. If you prefer paper lists and pictures, keep them in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or relative.
In our experience, having an up-to-date home inventory reduces the time to pay a claim by at least 50% and ensures that you don’t forget to claim something important. Make sure to get pictures of serial numbers or write them down, where applicable. It’s difficult to reconstruct a lifetime’s worth of purchases from memory and credit card statements. Don’t put yourself in that position — make sure you have renters insurance from Effective Coverage, as well as a home inventory!