THE SECOND STORY | June 1st, 2021

Is a Home Inventory Necessary?

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Most homeowners have insurance on their home that additionally, gives them coverage on their personal property. That is the first level of peace of mind to know that it is available to you if there is an unfortunate need for it from a burglary, fire, or some other insured circumstance.

Personal property is handled slightly different than real property. The claims adjustor could start by asking you for a list of the things lost. You are allowed to reconstruct it but there is a distinct possibility that you’ll forget things, sometimes for months or years after the claim was settled.

An interesting exercise would be for you to visualize two rooms, possibly, the kitchen and main living area. Without being in the room, create a list of all the personal items in plain sight and those in the closets and cabinets. When you’re through with the list, go into each room to check to see what kind of things were not on your list and what the value of those items amounted to. It could be substantial.

Remember, you are entitled to claim them regardless of how long it has been since you used them or if you do not intend on replacing them again.

When filing a claim, the more “proof” you have to substantiate it, the better off you are. Receipts are great but chances are, you may only have them for the big-ticket items. Photographs or video of the different rooms are great records that the items were in your home.

An itemized list of each room with a description of the content, cost and date of purchase, supported by pictures would be ideal. This type of documentation will make filing and settling a claim much easier. The more documentation you have, the more likely you are to have a favorable settlement.

The more expensive the item, the better it would be for you to have receipts, serial numbers and photographs. A simple count of some items like clothing will suffice like four pairs of jeans, 24 dress shirts, etc. More valuable items of clothing like a cashmere jacket or a silk dress should be listed individually.

Depending on the frequency that you purchase new items for the home or possessions, you’ll need to consider updating the list and photographs. Moving creates opportunities to get rid of things that haven’t been used for years and to acquire things for the new home. It is always a good idea to complete a home inventory after you’ve moved and settled into your new space.

If you would like to have more tips and a form to itemize your possessions, download the Home Inventory. This will even allow you to include pictures and store it in digital format for safe keeping.