Ok, so you might be asking yourself "why do I need to keep a record of my personal belongings?". If you have never had a claim on your homeowners or renters policy it's a fair question but ask anyone who has experienced a claim and they will tell you about proof of loss.
There are two important reasons to keep records of your personal belongings.
- First, you need to be sure that your homeowners or renters insurance reflects the true value of your possessions, including valuables, collections and expensive electronic gear. It's very easy for your insurance coverage to get out of line with the real value of the things you own and use.
- Second, if you ever need to make a claim on your policy, the more information you have on those possessions, including serial numbers and receipts, the smoother the claims process will go. That will also ensure that you don't overlook things in your claim, which is easy to do.
These days, it's easier than ever to record all those details but it can be a bit daunting if you've never done it before.
Here are our 3 tips for keeping records of your personal property:
- The quickest and easiest step you can do is to make a photo or video record. With digital cameras, it costs next to nothing to go around your home taking lots of photos which can act as a memory prompt and proof of ownership. You can take close-ups of small items like nooks, CD's and DVD's, serial number stickers, collectibles and so on, as well as general shots of entire rooms. However, make sure you back up the memory card or disk and store at least one copy away from your home. It would be useless if it was stolen or destroyed in a fire. Add to this record as you acquire new property, always making a note of serial numbers and costs or valuations.
- Keeping receipts and other records is also much easier than it used to be. Yes, you can store them in a file, but that's no good if you have a fire. It would be better to scan and store digitally, again keeping a copy off-site. Scanners are cheap and easy to use, or you can use your camera, smartphone or tablet to photograph receipts. If you need more help and you're tech-savvy, you can also download free or cheap inventory apps for iPhone, Androids and other systems.
- The final important part of this process is to check with us to ensure you're properly protected against loss. It's not just the value that's important but also the coverage options. For example, current value or replacement value? Certain high-value items may not be fully covered without an additional endorsement, it's important to identify these.
Even if you haven't completed your inventory it would be good to discuss your needs, so please give our office a call at 515-232-7060 to arrange this.