By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
When your bag gets lost and found, the first thing you’ll probably do is to check if anything is missing, with a special focus on the most important items, such as wallet, cellphone, and keys. Similarly, whether it is due to a natural disaster or theft, every homeowner naturally conducts a home inventory, focusing first on the most important valuables and appliances. This alone justifies the need for a home inventory. Add to that the risks associated with your home policy when you fail to do an initial inventory.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the US Department of Homeland Security as well as the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) emphasizes two key reasons why a home inventory list is important: to get the right policy specific to your home’s needs or to provide proof of personal property loss in the case of a disaster.
What should your home inventory list contain?
- Photographs of every furniture/fixture in your home, including receipts with the date of purchase and price for the most valuable items.
- Talk to your insurance agent if they have household inventory lists that you can use to fast-track your task. Otherwise, consider going to each room of the house and taking note of each item. Some homeowners group items according to their category, for example:
- Appliances and tools
- Collector’s items
- Sports Equipment
- Some even use videos to itemize their possessions.
Factors to consider when doing a home inventory list:
- Start tallying newer purchases and make sure to group them logically, like the categories mentioned above.
- Be as specific as possible. Include the brand, model, size, and even serial number. This is to get a proper valuation in the future.
- Label accordingly. Remember to use labels that can withstand the test of everyday use.
- Do not forget to back up a copy of your list. Aside from your computer, you may keep it in a safety deposit box or give it to a family member you trust, someone who lives outside your home.
- Organize the list as much as possible. If you are having a hard time understanding it after, chances are your insurer will likely feel the same.
When should you update your home inventory list?
Insurance experts recommend a yearly check or if you have just renovated your home and purchased new appliances and equipment. The reason for an update is to also check the items that you are no longer using.
At a loss where to start? Or just plain busy? A property manager will be able to assist you in making the list and putting priorities to where they should be.