Should a tragedy strike, you’re going to want to be ready. For homeowners, part of that preparation includes creating a home inventory of the valuables you wish to protect. Having an inventory list prepared is going to help you avoid many hassles in the aftermath of a loss and can provide many other benefits too. It’s now easier than ever to document, update, and file a household inventory list. Freedom Insurance Group recommends that every homeowner undertake this process to help stay better protected and to best understand their coverage needs.
Why Should You Complete a Home Inventory?
There are many reasons why making a household inventory list is beneficial to you as a homeowner. From helping you file a claim to assisting in the sale of your home, having an inventory list for your home is vital. Here are the top reasons to take the time and fill one out:
It Saves You Time After Filing a Claim
Completing home inventory for insurance purposes is critical for every homeowner. By doing so, you can provide documentation in the event you’ll need to dispute a claim. Having your home inventory ready to go can also speed up the claims process. The more organized you stay, the faster you can resolve your claim and receive reimbursement after a loss.
Creating Your Household Inventory List Lets You Assess Your Coverage
Assessing the amount of homeowners insurance you carry every year can help you stay protected and avoid overpaying. If you have valuables that exceed your coverage limits but aren’t accounted for, you may need to purchase additional coverage to avoid a loss. On the other hand, while reviewing your coverage, it’s always a good idea to shop annually to ensure that you are receiving the lowest rate possible for your home insurance.
Helps You Get to Home Improvement Projects
Developing your inventory list is a great way to get organized and assess the things you need to do around the house. It’s also helpful for documenting these improvements, the items purchased during said improvements, and making a note for both insurance companies and potential buyers alike. Homeowners that can prove their upgrades and improvements can use this when selling a home to show value.
It’s the Perfect Time to Declutter
Finally, taking note of what’s inside of your home is the perfect time to get rid of the extra things you don’t need. Let’s face it, we all have a room with too many things we haven’t used in years or a section of the garage or attic that can be downsized. Now is the time to do so.
Creating Your Inventory List for Homeowners Insurance
If you’re thinking of simply marking down everything in your home and considering yourself good to go, think again. Unfortunately, the process is not that simple, however, there are many different tools available to help ease your endeavor. Creating your insurance inventory is something you’ll want to get right because failing to do so makes this task a waste of time.
The last thing anyone needs is to spend time completing their home inventory only to realize it won’t help them when filing a claim. Here are a few simple steps and tips on how to ensure that your inventory list is a success:
- You’ll want to take videos and pictures. Visual evidence is helpful for all parties.
- Don’t forget to document important information such as warranties, proofs of purchase, certificates of ownership, etc.
- Keep organized and back up your files using multiple methods.
- Update your home inventory list as time goes on. Be sure to add new purchases to the list to ensure that they are both insured and accounted for.
- While all of your possessions should be recorded in their own categories, take extra care with more valuable items. Things such as collectibles, instruments, jewelry, etc. may require additional coverage to protect.
How to Record Your Home Inventory List
Having a physical, list written down can be helpful, in fact, here’s a free home inventory list to help you get started, but it won’t give you the full scope. You’ll need to have video and photographed documentation. Here are some helpful hints for getting the most out of recording your valuables:
Take It One Room at a Time
To keep things organized, it’s important to have things recorded room by room. This allows many benefits including organization, giving your time to not miss anything, taking time for each item, and more.
Compartmentalizing this task can also help it not feel overwhelming. You can start off in an easy room with fewer items and make your way to more complex rooms. While it’s important to create your home inventory, this is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. It’s okay to start off small and take it step by step until the job is done.
Speak Slowly on Each Item
Slowing down allows you to focus on each individual item in need of protection. This doesn’t mean speaking unnaturally, just taking the time to focus and give details. You’ll also want to shoot each item individually rather than only taking a shot of the entire room. Having an overview is great, but take the time to go through each item, especially important ones, as well.
More Information = Better Results
The little details, receipts, serial numbers, and so on. If it’s helpful for proving ownership, identifying an item, and restoring a loss through a claim, it’s information you’ll want to have taken down. This can also be useful during home improvement projects.
Helpful Visuals From the Insurance Information Institute
If you’re more of a visual learner, we understand. The Insurance Information Institute (III) has released a helpful video on how to create a home inventory which can give you a rundown on how to make it all happen:
Home Inventory Apps to Consider
A great tool many homeowners turn to when creating a home inventory for insurance is home inventory apps. No matter if you have Apple or Android, there is a home inventory app ready to help you create your inventory list. Here are a few highly-rated suggestions.
Trusted by businesses and detailed enough for anyone, the Sortly app is a great inventory management software choice for homeowners. You can keep everything in easy-to-find files, scan barcodes, control who has access, and more. It’s free, however, a paid version is available for users looking to increase their features. Available on both the App Store and Google Play.
Another free home inventory app that is helpful for your organizational needs. You can record, store, and organize your files, even converting your list into a PDF or Excel sheet. Encircle is available on both the App Store and Google Play.
Capable of handling tens of thousands of items, the Nest Egg app provides you with all the features you’ll need in a home inventory app, and more. It’s available in 32 languages and can be accessed on multiple devices for $11.99 per year, though using a singular device is free. Available in the App Store.
Available in the App Store, Google Play, and on your desktop, the Momento Database app is a perfect solution for cross-functional home inventory list management. There are multiple plans available with both monthly and annual subscriptions available.
Hopefully, we aren’t burying the lead here, because when it comes to home inventory and home insurance, using an app from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) just makes sense. It’s geared toward making your inventory list experience a breeze, capable of uploading photos organized by room, and scan barcodes for your items. You can download it on both the App Store and Google Play.
Storing Your Home Inventory List
How you store your home inventory list is important. It’s always advised that you have multiple options in case a flood, fire, or other potential peril ends up destroying a copy. Here are some suggestions to weigh your options:
Having a physical home inventory is nice, but there’s a lot that can destroy them. An online list can be a great backup that’s easily accessed from anywhere. But do remember, this is a list of your valuables and possessions. You’ll want to make sure that you keep them somewhere secure to keep out those who may be up to no good.
Safety Deposit Boxes
If you’re going to have a physical list and/or computer drive featuring your home inventory list, you’re going to need to secure it. A safety deposit box capable of keeping things secure, protecting from fires, and protecting from floods is a good place to keep things in order.
Your Local Bank
Banks have safety deposit boxes that are also great options. You can store your inventory list along with valuables and important documents at your local bank for a small monthly fee.
Keep a Copy With Your Insurance Agent
A good insurance agent will be able to help you keep track of your home inventory. While it’s still your responsibility to document and update it, your insurance agent can receive a copy for safekeeping, as a backup, be granted access to an online file, etc.
Annually Review Your Home Inventory and Homeowners Insurance
As we’ve mentioned before, taking the time out at least once a year to review your inventory list is a great practice that can help you keep things up to date. It’s also a great idea to look over your home insurance policy too.
Homeowners insurance rates tend to trend upwards. This means that it’s important to review it to make sure you aren’t overpaying. You’ll also want to be sure that through changing lifestyles and trends you’re still covered adequately should you face a major loss.
At Freedom Insurance Group, we help homeowners save an average of 40% on their home insurance by comparison shopping. Year after year, we continue to provide the protection you need at the lowest possible price from our network of 25+ top-rated insurance providers that work with our insurance center.
We help Texans find the right bundles and discounts for personalized coverage that gives you more for less. From helping you build your home inventory to saving your money on coverage, our team is here for you. Get a home insurance quote or ask an agent how much we can help you save today!