Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to take inventory of your belongings as you organize your home. An inventoried list of your belongings is important as it allows you to instantly know what needs to be replaced if your property is ever damaged.
“Home inventories are important because they provide an accurate record of your possessions,” said Bonnie Lee, vice president of property claims at Mercury Insurance. “In the event you were to experience a loss, like if your home is damaged by a fire or act of vandalism, an inventory allows you to instantly know what needs to be replaced. The claims process will go a lot smoother with a checklist, videos and photos that catalog your belongings.”
A home inventory also helps you determine whether or not you have sufficient insurance coverage. Some of your possessions, like expensive jewelry, fine art, rare stamp or coin collections, and irreplaceable items may not be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy and might require adding a “floater” policy. Speak with your agent to learn more.
If you’ve never created a home inventory, a simple way to tackle it is to add to it as you clean each room in your house – Mercury Insurance has put together a template to help you get started. Be sure to photograph each item and take 360-degree videos to showcase where everything is placed or stored. Upload a copy of your home inventory list and all photo and video documentation to a storage cloud to ensure you’re able to access it from anywhere when needed.
There are also a number of home inventory apps and templates available to help you create an inventory faster and easily. Many of these apps allow you to upload photos or videos from your phone and allow you to either download lists or pdfs of your inventory should you need it to file a claim.
Several notable apps include:
- Developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the NAIC Home Inventory app provides expert tips to help you file a claim, as well as disaster preparedness tips for both homeowners and renters.
- Along with a standard home inventory list, Itemtopia offers homeowners the chance to catalogue services for the things they own including internet plans, service notes, renewal dates, and reminders.
- Encircle was originally designed for insurance adjusters but can be used by anyone. The app provides expert tips on how to file an insurance claim if necessary.
“Remember, a home inventory is constantly in a state of flux – people tend to get rid of things that are old, replacing them with newer models, donate or throw out things they no longer need, want or use, and generally just accumulate more stuff,” said Lee. “Be sure to update your inventory to reflect these changes to ensure its accuracy.”