Would you be able to remember all of the possessions you've accumulated over the years if they were destroyed b a fire or stolen? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income taxes return, and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where and when you bought it including its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category - pants, coats, suits, shoes, etc.- making notes for items that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronics, record their model and serial numbers.
* BIG TICkET ITEMS
Valuable items like jewelry, fine arts, and collectibles usually require special coverage on your insurance policy and may have increased in value since you purchased them. Check with your insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate coverage on your homeowners or renters insurance policy. These items may need to be sheduled on your policy or require a special floater policy.
*TAKE PHOTOS OR VIDEO TAPE
Besides the list, it is a good idea to take pictures or video of each room and individual items. Don't forget things that are in closets, drawers, or jewelry boxes. Make sure you store the list , photos, and video in a safety deposit box, fire-proof safe, or off premises in the event of a fire.
* USE A PERSONAL COMPUTER
Use your PC to make your inventory list and store photos and video. There are personal finance software packages which often include a homewoners room-by-room inventory package. Again, make sure you back-up and store this information off premises.
*DON'T BE PUT OFF!
If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory can be relatively simple. If you've been living in the same house or apartment for years, the task of creating an inventory may be daunting. It is better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about older possessions.
* DON'T FORGET TO ADD NEW PURCHASES TO YOUR INVENTORY
Remember that this list is not static. You may want to update your inventory annualy and add expensive items to the inventory immediately. Make certain that you contact your insurance agent to update coverage, especially with large ticket items.