Before Loss, Keep an Inventory of Your Personal Property

It is easy to forget some of your possessions when it comes time to report a loss to your insurance carrier.

It can be a stressful time; trying to remember everything that may be missing will add to that stress. That’s why creating and updating a record of your personal belongings prior to a loss will help you during a very stressful time.

There are many ways to easily keep a record:

  1. Video it. Probably one of the easiest ways to create an inventory of your personal belongings is with a video camera. Walk through your home videotaping and describing the contents. Note where and when you purchased each item. Don’t forget things that are in closets and drawers!
  2. Make a written list of all of your personal possessions and keep it up to date. Keep receipts with the list.
  3. Take a picture. Besides a list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make and model. Again, don’t forget things that are in closets and drawers!
  4. Use your computer. Many personal finance software packages include a homeowner’s room-by-room inventory program. Or create your own with your computer’s spreadsheet program.
  5. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are still fresh in your mind.
  6. It is a good idea to write down the brand names and model numbers of appliances and electronic equipment.

Once you have an inventory of your personal belongings, regardless of how you do it (written list, flash drive, CD, photos, or videotape) keep your inventory — along with receipts — in a safe deposit box or at a friend or relative’s home. That way you will be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged.

Carrie Van Beurden