After an event such as a flood of earthquake, you'll have to describe on an insurance claim the items damaged or destroyed.
Imagine losing everything in a disaster, such as this month’s devastating hurricanes, then having to list all of your possessions to file an insurance claim — every plate, holiday decoration and piece of clothing for starters.
Without a home inventory, this would be the toughest memory test you’d ever face, and forgotten items could cost you in the form of a lower insurance payout.
A home inventory is a list of all your belongings and ideally includes photos or video of everything and receipts of big-ticket items, such as furniture and TVs, to back it up. It’s a handy resource: After a disaster, an insurer doesn’t cut a check for the amount of coverage on a homeowners, renters or flood insurance policy. You have to describe on the claim the items damaged or destroyed.
You can create an inventory on your own. The easiest way is to take a video of everything in your house, room by room. Here’s how:
• Take footage of items on the floors, walls and hanging from the ceiling.
• Include everything in drawers, cupboards and closets. Don’t assume anything’s too small. If it’s in your home, it has value.
• Narrate the video to record details, such as when and where you purchased the items. That information can help with cost estimates for a claim.
• Capture the make, model and serial numbers of electronic equipment and appliances.
Some insurers offer free home inventory apps that let customers catalog belongings, upload receipts, add item details and create reports. Free and low-cost apps, such as Sortly for iOS and Encircle for Android and iOS, are also available.
United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group, also offers a free home inventory app by Encircle and an inventory spreadsheet.