4 Ways to Create a Home Inventory Before a Natural Disaster Strikes

June 11, 2019
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Inside the kitchen of a home before taking inventory

If a disaster were to strike your home, the only way to prove what was destroyed is a home inventory. Your homeowner’s insurance coverage will replace or compensate you for your destroyed possessions as long as you provide a complete and up-to-date home inventory.

Creating a home inventory may feel like a huge job, but as any insurance agent will tell you, it’s an important job and one you must-do if you want to protect your belongings if disaster strikes.

Here are four ways to create your home inventory today.

Before you start your inventory, gather the supplies you will need. You’ll need your phone for picture taking and videos, spreadsheet software, your receipts, a scanner, and an external flash drive to save the inventory on and place somewhere safe.

  1. Complete a Written Inventory after a Walk Through First, walk through each room and complete a written inventory. Write down everything of note. Count quantities, and write them down; this is especially important for things like clothing and books. For clothing, just count quantities by item type. Write down the number of shirts, pants, running shoes, dress shoes, and so on. Make sure to write down everything about your high ticket items. The item, the brand, the original price paid, and any specifics. Later, record all of this in a spreadsheet. Save it to your computer and print out a copy. In your spreadsheet, record any and all information that you can on each item, such as serial numbers, prices paid, date purchased, and the items’ physical locations in your home.
  2. Complete a Video Inventory: Walk through your home with your phone and take a video inventory. Narrate as you go. Be specific; note where you got each item, when, and how much you paid or how much it’s worth.
  3. Purchase a Fireproof Cabinet or Container: Store your receipts and copies of your inventory (paper and flash drive) in a fireproof cabinet. Also, store any important papers here. In addition, store a copy of your inventory somewhere outside of your home. A safe deposit box is a good idea, or give a copy to a family member.
  4. Take a Picture Inventory: In a picture inventory, you will take a picture of your items along with the receipts for each item (if you have them). These photos will help in the event that your receipts are lost or damaged. Having photos of your items will be very helpful when it comes time to replace them. It will make it easier to value the items.

A home inventory will help you and your family recover faster from a disaster. An unexpected event like a fire, flood, hurricanes, or theft can leave you feeling helpless, but with the aid of your home inventory, your insurance adjuster can help you replace your items. Don’t wait for disaster to strike, though, make sure to complete your home inventory now. And remember, update your inventory regularly to make sure you have everything listed. Any time you purchase a new high-dollar or important item, make sure to add it to the list, take a picture, and save the receipt. If possible, keep copies of the inventory outside the home for additional security.

This will all help you settle any insurance claims faster and it will help you document any financial losses for your tax returns. If you suffer a loss from a natural disaster and need help filing a claim, contact a Public Adjuster for assistance.