Your home is filled with personal treasures and expensive items, and it’s important to keep track of all of it for your homeowners insurance. Having to remember every single item in your house could be a very difficult, if not impossible task, after a major loss. A list is a good place to start, but a home inventory video can serve as a valuable visual record in case you need to make a claim.
How to Get Started
First, talk to your insurance company. They may have suggestions or a starter checklist to assist you in counting your possessions. There are also apps that can help you categorize your valuable items and create your home inventory video.
Then, make a list of the rooms in your home. Don’t forget about the hallways, attic, garage and basement, especially if you use those spaces for storing valuables such as collectibles, antiques and holiday decorations.
Go outside if you have a garden, porch, pool or a patio. Any furniture you keep out there is included in your homeowners insurance and should be documented for your home inventory.
Taking Stock as a Homeowner
Going through every room in your home can be intimidating. But while it may seem like a lot of work, it can be broken up into smaller steps.
Create a spreadsheet for each room in your house. Make organized columns where you can list each item, along with the model/serial number, when and where you bought it and the purchase price. This is all important information in case you need to make a claim and replace something that has been lost.
When you document the items in a room, start with big pieces of furniture, such as closets, dressers and large electronics. Then move to pictures and decorations on the walls and bookshelves. Open drawers and closets to count the items inside, especially clothes, shoes and accessories. Even a small wardrobe can be expensive to replace once you add up the prices of garments.
As always, check with your insurance agent to see what is covered by your policy. You may need extra coverage for certain possessions.
Filming Your Home Inventory Video
A video camera or smartphone will get the job done. And while you’re making your home inventory video, bring a friend or family member along to take pictures. Again, more documentation is better for your homeowners insurance.
Turn on your lights as you walk through your home. A video needs to be well lit. Bring a flashlight for dark corners, or use the light on your smartphone.
Open all drawers, closets and cabinets as you go along. Describe each item as you film it. You don’t have to go into too much detail though. For example, just say you have a set of 12 forks and spoons instead of picking up each one. However, take more time to describe a piece if it is particularly valuable or unusual. Pick it up while you’re filming and hold it close to the camera.
When You’re Done Filming
Store your home inventory video in a safe place – back it up, keep a copy, upload it to the cloud or keep it on an external hard drive. You may also want to keep a physical copy at a friend or relative’s house.
And save your receipts for expensive items! Make copies to keep with your video, and save the originals in a safety deposit box.
If you make a big purchase, add it to your home inventory while your memory is still fresh. Alternatively, set a reminder in your personal calendar to update your list twice a year or so.
If you move to another home, you may want to film another version of your video, especially if you have to buy new furniture.
Have you made a home inventory video? Has it helped you? Please let us know in the comments!
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