Most people neglect to keep a detailed home inventory. However, it is a vital element should your home be robbed or a fire or other natural disaster occurs. If you do not have such a detailed inventory, insurance may not properly pay what your belongings are worth in the case of such an incident. The main reason for this is because when people are asked to account for their belongings, they rely on memory and many items are forgotten or cannot be valued properly.
Creating and maintaining a home inventory will assist in keeping track of all your valuables and ensuring that their value is properly replaced in the event of a loss. Once created, a home inventory list, accompanying papers, video and photos should be stored in a fireproof box, safe, or bank deposit box.
How to Record Home Inventory
The best way to conduct and record your home inventory is to begin in one room and work your way through the house, making sure that you include closets, basements, attics, garages and outdoor storage units. This way, nothing will be missed.
Start with electronics and other high dollar appliances, recording their serial numbers, writing descriptions and taking photos or video. Then move onto other high dollar items such as jewelry, artwork, antiques, collection pieces, exercise and sporting equipment, etc doing the same until everything of value has been recorded in each room.
Once this has been accomplished, gather all available receipts for these items into one folder. Circle or note the purchase date, price paid and location of purchase. Also, be sure to keep your inventory list up to date by adding information and receipts of newly acquired items and removing items which are disposed of.
Photo and Video Tips
Actual images of items are important when getting their full value from insurance companies, or recovering them if stolen. To provide images, you can use a standard, digital, or video camera. If taking a video home inventory, start filming from one location in each room and systematically move around it until all valuables have been recorded.
All images taken should be dated, preferably with an included time/date stamp. Take wide-angle shots first of the entire room and its belongings and then include close up shots of the individual items.
If a flash is needed, be sure to stay within the recommended distance for proper lighting and avoid taking shots into a reflective surface such as mirrors and windows. To compensate for both of these problems, use a thin cloth such as a handkerchief to dim the flash for closer shots and take shots at a 45° angle to reflective surfaces.
When photographing expensive china, jewelry, silverware, or other small items, use a dark, non-reflective cloth as a backdrop and include shots of the backs or bottoms of items to show manufacturers’ marks. Take images with closet doors completely open as to show the full content, and images of drawer contents should be fanned out in order to show all items. It is also a good practice to include a family member in the images to help validate ownership.
Following these home inventory tips will help to ensure that you receive the full value of your items should they be stolen or lost in a tragedy.
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