The reason why we have insurance policies in place is for when something unexpected happens, and we need a safety net. No one wants to experience a claim, if for no other reason than to avoid the interruption of our normal routine. Needing to report an insurance claim already means we are in the midst of a stressful situation. The unexpected, and often times major, incident that occurred not only damaged our property, but will take time to repair, further disrupting our lives.

A way to mitigate some stress is to prepare for the worst-case scenario of a “total loss” – like the old adage says, “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.” An easy way homeowners and businessowners alike can do this is by taking inventory of their possessions, fixtures, and property modifications. Recovering after any claim situation that results in property damage (flood, fire, theft, weather, etc.) will be simplified if you have this completed. By documenting information about your equipment or household items, your insurance adjuster will be better able to assess the full extent of your damages and replace your property as fast as possible.

Here are some recommendations on how to tackle this project:
  • Make a list of everything in your home - room by room. Be sure to include commonly overlooked items like window treatments, holiday decorations, clothing, outdoor décor & landscaping, etc.
  • Take pictures of your “big ticket items” including their serial numbers. These could include electronics, jewelry, rugs, artwork, heirlooms, china, collector’s items, etc.
  • Slowly video each room of your home so you can identify all the items at a later date
  • Scan all of your important documents (including appraisals) and keep the originals in water/fire safe storage.
  • Save this information in 2 locations – email it to yourself, store it in the cloud, use a thumb drive & keep it with the other important documents.
While it may take some time to document everything at first, it will save you comparable time and headache if you ever have to dispute costs with your adjuster in the event of a claim. Not to mention having everything together and in an electronic format will make it simple to retrieve and share. Can you imagine having to create this from scratch and recall every possession you own when you have so many other things on your mind?

Remember to update your inventory any time you make a big purchase. An added bonus to completing this project is that it will help you make sure your insurance policy is covering your current needs. If you have made any recent purchases or renovated your property, you may need to adjust your coverage, and adding this to your list will remind you to update your agent. Take the time now to make sure your life gets back to normal with as little pain as possible, trust me, you’ll be thanking yourself!