A home inventory is a comprehensive report which includes detailed descriptions and photos of the personal property in and around your home. While considered a key component in documenting insurance claims, a home inventory is also valuable for estate and financial planning.
Importance of a Home Inventory
If you were to step outside your home, could you list all the personal property (e.g. furniture, clothing) items you own? Even if you could list everything, would you be able to provide detailed information—including the purchase date, cost, model, and serial number—on the contents of your home?
A home inventory ensures that homeowners are sufficiently prepared, in terms of their insurance coverage, to deal with potential losses. A detailed list of all the items destroyed, damaged, or stolen is required for an insurance claim. Proper documentation ensures a faster and smoother claims process, as well as maximizing your insurance reimbursement.
In fact, you must provide documented proof of ownership to receive a settlement covering the full extent of the loss. Most policyholders do not realize that the burden of proof rests with them. At Allegiance Public Adjusters, we specialize in going through your damaged contents and documenting that proof for you.
Benefits of a Home Inventory
Obtaining a comprehensive home inventory:
- Verifies the condition of your assets before moving or placing them in storage in case of loss or damage.
- Allows documentation of ownership of items lost as a result of fire or theft.
Information Included in an Inventory Report
The information gathered in a home inventory report includes:
- Serial number
- Purchase date
- Photos and video footage
- Heir designation
- Estimated or appraised replacement value
- Scans of receipts and important documents
Compiling Your Own Home Inventory
The adjusters here at Allegiance Public Adjusters recommend an updated inventory at least once a year. In this way, you can properly document new purchases and additions, as well as document items that you may discard or give away. The simplest way to document your inventory is via video camera. With video cameras becoming more and more common place, as most smartphones and tablets contain one, it is one of the most common methods of documenting ownership. There are many different ways to approach a video inventory documentation, but the most common and effective method is to video each room with the contents placed where they are usually stored. For example, if you keep your jewelry box on your dresser as opposed to on your bureau, you’ll want to video the jewelry box on your dresser. Make sure to open each drawer, and video the items in those drawers. Likewise, your closets will need to be filmed with the items on shelves and hanging on closet poles. Make sure that the items can be identified with some detail, especially items of greater value. Continue this process in each room using the same methodology. For example, you’ll want to video the items in your china cabinet, your kitchen cabinets/drawers, etc. The video will be very helpful in supplementing the scanned receipts you may have while at the same time provide proof of its existence in the case of items without a receipt.
Hiring an Inventory Specialist
An alternative to conducting your own home inventory is to hire a reputable company to compile it for you. Advantages include:
How to Choose an Inventory Specialist
When hiring an inventory specialist, be sure they have and provide the following:
- Ask any questions that you may have concerning what will be provided.
Keeping a Home Inventory Secure
Once your home inventory is complete, store the information in a safe location away from your house such as a safe deposit box, or by uploading it to a secure data backup provider.
After a Loss
Our professional claims consultants are here to represent your interests and assist you in preparing, filing and negotiating your insurance claim. It is our job to relieve you of all aspects of the claim process and recover the maximum monetary settlement from your claim. You’re already dealing with enough stress and loss; we’re here to help lighten the load. Allegiance Public Adjusters is here to handle all your insurance claim needs. Whether it’s your home or your business that sustained damage; whether the damage was a result of vandalism, theft, water, wind or fire; whether you have documented your personal property belongings or not; give us a call to speak with a Philadelphia public adjuster about your claim immediately. We are specialists at getting you back on your feet. With twenty-two years of experience dealing with insurance companies and the many facets of a property damage claims, we will always advocate for you, our client.