Ready to get prepared? September is National Preparedness Month. A part of being prepared is getting your home paperwork in order. September 1-7, 2019 is a good time to participate in National Home Inventory Week.
If you suffered a loss tonight, would you be able to compile a list of everything involved? To test your recall, make a list of everything in your living room then check if you accounted for it all. We accumulate so much that we sometimes lose track. It’s hurricane season as Texas (and the other Gulf and Atlantic states) are all too aware. When the tropical storm starts forming is not the time to think about your plan of action or leaving most of your possessions behind. Certainly no one in Houston and other areas expected Hurricane Harvey to hang around as long as it did, causing more and more damage as time went on. Since September is National Preparedness Month, it’s a good time to think about organizing your family’s plan in the event of a hurricane, major storm, or other disaster.
A home inventory is a list you create of contents within your home, so nothing difficult (just potentially a bit time consuming initially). Home inventories help you provide a detailed list of your belongings for insurance companies in case you need to evacuate or weather out a storm. Perhaps you’ve thought about it before but never got around to it. This is a good time to consider doing it! It’s time to take stock of your belongings or update them if you’re one of the few that have already tackled this task.
Here are a few ideas to consider about home inventories:
à Just get started. You could begin with recent purchases and add in older items later. Do it in segments.
à List your possessions in categories that make sense to you; the list could be organized by person, by hobby, or by room.
à There are also various home inventory apps you could use, some at cost but some are free, for your phone or tablet.
à You can also go old school and manually write down all your information in a binder. Include the item, manufacturer, mode, serial number, date purchased and purchase price. If possible, include a picture of
à For antiques, jewelry, major appliances and collector’s items, be sure to keep detailed records and appraisals, if appropriate.
à Be as detailed as possible, the more specific the better about the items.
à You could make it a family endeavor! Get each person involved with their own list as age appropriate.
à Don’t forget seasonal items or items you rarely use (like tool sets, sports equipment, holiday decorations, …).
A side note: water damage is tricky. Homeowners/renters/business insurance policies typically do not cover your belongings when water is involved (some people have sewer backup but that’s different than a storm). The duty is on you to see if you have coverage for water damage and, if so, what type of coverage. Options vary by geographical location and type of home insurance policy. This is another good reason to review your coverage with your insurance agent. You may be required to get coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for water damage coverage. Also, don’t keep anything that could be water damaged on the floor. Grandma was right when she said better safe than sorry.
Once your home inventory list is done, it will be easy to update. Just keep a folder of receipts and proof of items sold. You could also update when you have a moment, as you acquire new things or as an annual assignment, like changing smoke alarm batteries. You’ll want to keep it in a safe place. Options include cloud storage, an offsite computer, archived email, thumb drive or external hard drive. If you do old school, then printed copies should go in a fire-proof safe (offsite even better) or a safety deposit box. The point is to have a list of all your things secured in a safe place just in case.
Once you’ve accounted for your belongings, you’ll have a better idea of how much you really have and want to review your homeowners coverage or renters insurance coverage. Do you have enough coverage on your renter’s or homeowner’s policy? Perhaps you started your coverage when you were younger and had fewer belongings. Once you’ve completed your home inventory it’s a perfect time to review your coverage with your insurance agent and update as needed.
Contact Solo Insurance to review your current homeowners or renters insurance policy or request a quote for a new policy.
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