Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Home Organization :: Creating a Home Inventory
Recently, I had a friend whose home was burglarized while they were away. The thief did not take much, mainly jewelry and electronics; however, my friend had a hard time remembering all the items in her jewelry box and their value. She commented how difficult it was to pick out what was missing and provide information to the insurance company.
In a time of stress or disaster, having a home inventory can be very helpful. It does take time to create, but it will aide in recovery of stolen items by the police and/or replacement by insurance after a natural disaster. There are several ways to approach a home inventory: 1. write everything down you own, 2.photograph or film all your possessions, or 3.a combination of the first two with a little extra.
Insurance policies and the companies that write them want to see documentation for your claims. Having a home inventory will not only speed up the process, but it will also authenticate your possession claims.
Please note, if you have a large collection or items of great expense, a regular home insurance policy may not cover those items. For instance, most insurance companies write a standard home policy to cover theft or damage of the entire contents with a maximum cap on certain items. Electronics cap out at approximately $2,500. If you were to have a large expense of electronics in your home (maybe you like to DJ on the side!), you would need to obtain a rider or a personal articles policy. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of those policies as your insurance provider will be able to address any questions.
Typically, I like to make a record using Excel for books and DVDs in our home. I also like to keep a list of all electronic serial numbers and their descriptions. If I take pictures, I can import them into my inventory record to have everything in one location. For any collections we have, I do the same.
In addition to a written inventory, I walk through the home each year snapping close-up photographs of every room, making sure to include the date/time stamp. I take zoomed out pictures of the entire room for reference, as well.
If we’ve made a big purchase in the past, I hold onto the receipts for financial documentation. However, with the online paper trail we all have today, your bank or credit card statements would be of great use to document actual item cost.
Once you’ve got everything pertinent listed and photographed, make sure to keep it safe. I keep an electronic record on my computer, on an SD card in a safe, and as an online document. If I’ve printed photographs, they go into the safe with the SD card.
Be sure to update your inventory yearly. I like to do mine at the end of Spring Cleaning, which ensures not documenting items I have donated or sold during the cleaning process. Keeping up to date records is very important. If you spent hours one year building a home inventory and fail to add your purchases the following year, should a natural disaster occur, you may not be able to claim your newest purchases.
Creating a home inventory may seem like a great task at hand, but it will help note what you have in your home and be a security net should anything happen in the future.