Home Inventory Tips
Personal property coverage protects your belongings on your home insurance policy. This coverage uses a coverage limit for common household items, often based on the insured value of your home. However, personal property coverage does not specify what you own or how much it is worth. A home inventory can help you document what you own and can help expedite claims if you have a covered loss at your home.
Consider using an app
These days, there is an app for nearly everything. Several popular apps available for iOS or Android mobile devices promise to make building a home inventory a breeze. Choose your app carefully if you decide to use an app, though. Some apps in this category function more like a high-tech shopping list, alerting you when it is time to restock on household items. Others offer a near-perfect tool for documenting the items you own. The latter is the type of app you want to consider.
Look for these features:
– Takes photos: a picture is worth a thousand words — and can go a lot further if you need to prove you owned an item that was completely destroyed in a covered claim.
– Allows custom descriptions: often, the difference is in the details. Photos offer a powerful way to document your possessions, but sometimes a description can offer additional context that can help in a claim.
– Cloud storage: ideally, you should store the data for your home inventory off site. Your phone or other mobile device can be damaged or lost at your home, possibly causing you to lose your home inventory. Cloud storage provides an off-site backup.
Use a computer
A spreadsheet or a word processing application offers another way to build a home inventory. While not as convenient, you can duplicate the same functionality, including photos and descriptions. Look for cloud storage when using a computer to build a home inventory. Fires, theft, water damage, or even hardware failure can put your data at risk. If possible, backup to a remote cloud service.
Take clear photos of items you own and avoid using images you find online. The best way to document that you own an item is to take a photo of the item in your own home. If possible, take a photo of the receipt or a screenshot of online proof of purchase as well.
Some homeowners take pictures of each room, using overlapping photos to build a visual image of an entire room. Open drawers, cabinets, and storage areas, taking pictures of what is inside each area.
Discuss coverage needs with your agent or broker
Coverage for valuables, such as jewelry or collectibles, can require special attention. If you own valuables, a general home inventory may not provide enough protection. In some households, increased limits for valuables can be a wise choice. In some cases, you may also want to insure valuables specifically on your policy, which ensures full coverage.