Benchmark Agency Blog

Fall Home Inventory Tips

As the leaves begin to turn and we clean up the yard to prepare for colder weather, it is time to put some fall and winter projects on the “to do” list. Have you considered adding a home inventory to your fall project list? Now is a great time to spend some time indoors, get organized, and make a detailed inventory of your belongings.

No one wants to think about the consequences of a major loss of property. But if you do a little work now, the process will be far less stressful and the outcome much more satisfactory if you have documentation to support your claim, should the worst happen.

A personal property inventory—or home inventory—can help you make sure you purchase the proper amount of homeowners insurance and can help you get your claim settled faster with less red tape. A home inventory can also help you verify your losses for tax purposes. It may seem like a lot of work, but if you have a plan and stick to it, it won’t take that long and it will be well worth the time.

There are no hard and fast rules for preparing a personal property inventory. Use the method that best works for you! Most importantly, you need to be thorough and you must be sure to keep a copy of your inventory in a safe place away from home after it has been completed. You wouldn’t want to have your inventory destroyed with your other belongings!

Some of the methods that are commonly used for home inventories include:

  • Do-it-yourself: Make a video and describe the contents of your home as you walk through it. Or you can just as easily walk though your home and write everything down or create a spreadsheet on your computer. Be sure to attach any photos, receipts or other pertinent information as you go.
  • Hire a professional: Many insurance companies offer software, apps or special checklists to help you prepare a home inventory. These are a great way to get started and provide a helpful framework, but remember that one size does not fit all in these cases. Your home and your belongings are unique! You can also consider hiring a home inventory specialist. These professionals can be more expensive than doing it yourself, and you need to carefully check the credentials of anyone you let in to catalog the items in your home.

What should you include in your inventory? Think of the information that your insurance company will want to know if you have to file a home insurance claim. The goal is to expedite the claims process and provide as much information as possible to make sure that you are properly reimbursed for your losses.

As you prepare your inventory, record everything. Include a brief description for each item that contains the brand name, model or serial number, receipts, and photographs when possible. Pay particular attention to high-value items like jewelry, electronics, antiques and so on. If you have appraisals for these items, attach copies. And don’t forget to go through the garage, attic, basement, sheds or other outbuildings on your property.

When you are finished, make backup copies of your inventory and store one set away from home in a safe place, like in a safety deposit box at a bank.

You should update your inventory continuously as you add new items to your household, or if you get rid of things. You should also review your coverage to make sure it is sufficient every year.

Have you considered preparing a personal property inventory? Need some help getting started? We can offer advice and help walk you through the process, and we can review your coverage to make sure that it is up-to-date before the winter sets in.


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