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Preparing a Home Inventory

If all of your belongings are lost, a detailed home inventory can help ensure their replacement, verify losses for the police and insurance adjuster, substantiate a tax credit, and help you get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Don’t think your belongings are worth enough to insure? Even the tiniest studio apartment can hold thousands of dollar’s worth of personal property. Completing a home inventory can help you determine the overall value of your belongings and assist you in assessing their insurable value.

Investing time in your assets

Taking the time now to document your belongings can save you time and worry later, and ensure proper reimbursement for all your losses. The more area you occupy and personal property you have, the longer it will take to complete an inventory. The most effective inventory combines a detailed written list with one of the following: 1. Videotape with audio narration 2. Photographs of valuable, or unique items 3. Audiotape with photographs of valuable or unique items

No madness in this method

No matter what method(s) you choose, make sure to approach this project systematically so you don’t miss anything. Keep a copy of your completed inventory off premises in a safety deposit box, or with a relative or friend.

Here are some project tips:

  • Begin in one room and cover its contents thoroughly before moving on.
  • Remember hallways, attic, basement, garage, porch, pool, patio and garden.
  • Open closets and drawers.
  • Group like-items together when possible. For example, clothing can be grouped by category, quantity and overall cost. Note anything of special value.
  • Document unique information about valuable items, such as model, age, where purchased, unusual qualities, etc.
  • Record serial numbers of major appliances and electronic equipment. Attach sales receipts and/or appraisals to the inventory list.
  • Photocopy important documents and attach to the inventory list. Keep originals in a safety deposit box.
  • Photograph valuable items against a plain background, next to a ruler. Turn items over to show any hallmark, manufacturer or pattern information.
  • Keep your inventory list updated by documenting any new items acquired.
  • Complete separate inventories for any other home, boat or recreational vehicle you own.
  • Collections and/or specialty items, such as jewelry and art, should be professionally appraised to establish their value.
  • Attach appraisals to the inventory list.

Home Business

Do you have a business in your home? Most homeowner’s policies offer limited, or no protection for your business while it is being operated in your home. Consequently, items you use in your business — desks, FAX machines, telephone equipment, computer equipment, software — and liability coverage for the business, should be insured separately or through a special endorsement to your Homeowners policy. If you are operating a business in your home, check with your agent to be sure you are properly covered.

Completing Your Household Inventory

Jot down the items and their value in each room (don’t forget the closets and storage areas). Itemize the contents of the spaces above. Include: Number of items, Description of items, Year Purchased, Cost New, Estimated Current Value, Total cash value contained in each room . . . or for each member of the family.

If you have further questions, do not hesitate to give us a call! Kate Mabry at (336) 714-9436


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