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How to Take a Home Inventory

Taking a Home Inventory

HI’m going to show you how to take a home inventory for your homeowner’s insurance.  We’ll start downstairs. Be careful. Don’t trip over my cat Sully. Okay, let’s begin.

Batman costume: $800. No, it’s not a Halloween costume, but a custom tailored replica. Not many people own a Batman costume, but I’m not most people. The authentic suit I wanted went for $4,000 at auction — way too pricey.

Stuffed dove: $50. Don’t ask. Sully isn’t even impressed, and he hates birds. Let’s move on and never speak of the dove again.

19th century revolver: $500. Used in Victorian times when people would have duels just to see who would get the last slice of bread. Also doubles as a back scratcher for my cat. Animals get everything in this house.

Now I know what you are thinking, have I lost my mind? I haven’t. I’m completely sane, although sane is a matter of opinion. What I’m doing is taking an inventory of MY VALUABLES — or not so valuables — in case I have to make an insurance claim. The inventory is documentation that I can use in finding out how much I should be paying for insurance and negotiating replacement costs with the insurance company.

Listing all your possessions after a fire, burglary or some other disaster can be an emotional experience as you try to remember everything that you owned. An inventory can take some of the worry out of the process.

An inventory is not only record of the contents of your house and their value, but it is also a good indicator of whether you have enough insurance coverage. Most insurance policies give you a choice on how to insure your belongings. You can get either actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.  Actual cash value will allow you recoup the amount you expect to get if you sold the items, minus the depreciation. Replacement cost coverage allows you to replace your personal property at today’s market price.

So back to taking inventory. There are many ways to begin. I took the low-tech approach and listed my possessions in a notebook and I also took pictures. I know some people videotape. If you really want to go high-tech there are even iPhone Apps that will store your inventory.

Alright so the first thing we’ll do is write down all the expensive items including jewelry, electronics, and collectibles. Also do not forget to list toys, old record or comic book collections, video games, firearms and clothing

When it comes to creating a list. I’m going to write down the belongings in each room. Some people might choose to categorize their possessions. Others might decide a combination of the two. Whatever way you decide, make sure you include general appliances such a dishwasher or air conditioner; household items including carpets, rugs, bookcases, chairs, clocks, mirrors; living room furniture; dining room furniture; the contents of all the bedrooms, including linens and night tables; kitchen tables and chairs; patio furniture; everything in the garage, home office, library and den. You get the picture.

If you’re videotaping, be sure to narrate what you see as you go from room-to-room, closet-to-closet and drawer-to-drawer. Also, if you can, keep all your receipts and serial numbers of the big-ticket items.

Once I’m done with the inventory, it is extremely important to safeguard that information. I have a safe but you can also give the inventory to a relative or an attorney; or even put it in a safe deposit box at your bank. Also, make sure you update at least four times a year

That’s all that we have for today. If you would like more information or have any questions on how to make your home inventory, feel free to contact one of agents and they’ll be happy to help.