No one wants to think about the “what-if” scenarios like a house fire or theft. While an insurance policy can help you protect your assets in the case of such a tragedy, it’s really only one part of the equation. Taking a comprehensive inventory of your possessions is an excellent way to complement your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Policy.
In the case of damage, loss, or theft, a record of your assets will help you assess your losses in the case of an insurance claim for a covered loss. If you do not yet have an insurance policy to cover your possessions, an inventory can help you determine the amount of coverage you need in order to protect your assets; if you already have a policy in place, you may discover after taking inventory that your coverage needs some updating.
There’s no real rules about the format of your inventory; it can be in the form of either a list or visual records. Ideally, though, you should have both in place. The first part, cataloging your belongings, should be as specific as possible, including any of the following information that applies:
• Serial number
• Purchase date
For smaller items or groups of items, such as books, bed sheets, or kitchen utensils, you can provide an estimate of the number of items in the group, along with an estimated value. To double-check about how detailed you need to be about certain items, ask your insurance agent. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can simply move from one room in your home, to another, listing as you go. Don’t forget items that may be stored in your attic, basement, garage, or other structures on your property.
The second part, creating a visual record, can be less intensive; a video walkthrough of your home or a series of still photos is sufficient; there’s no need to individually photograph every item. Additional visual records that may prove helpful include the following types of documentation:
• Credit card statements or receipts
• Any other transaction documents
• Appraisals (including the name and address of the appraiser)
You can either scan those types of documents or simply take photographs of them.
Of course, you’ll want to be especially careful to include visual records for valuable possessions such as antiques and collectibles, art and jewelry, and electronic equipment. You’ll also want to ask your insurance agent about any particularly valuable items to see if they require you to purchase an additional policy or rider, in order to make sure they’re covered.
As you get rid of items or acquire new ones, be sure to update your home inventory. Depending on the method you choose to create and store your list and the associated images and other documentation, that task may be quite laborious or quick and easy. To learn about methods available to you, check out Part 2.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
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