If you haven’t already started, you may be thinking about doing some spring cleaning. It’s a popular time of year for garage sales and home maintenance, but it’s also a good time to take an inventory of your home. You never know when a disaster may strike, but by being proactive and creating a home inventory, you can help ease the stress the aftermath a disastrous event brings.
You may be asking, what’s the point of a home inventory? I can remember what’s in my home, why do I need to document that? I have a few answers for you:
- Creating an inventory will help you to more accurately purchase insurance that will cover the costs to replace the things you own.
- If you have an insurance claim, a home inventory will help to settle it more quickly.
- A home inventory will assist you in substantiating your losses for your income tax return.
So now you know why, but what about how? If you’re like me, you may be thinking that this sounds like far too daunting of a task. But there are some easy tips and tricks for making this as painless as possible. You can make a list, take photos or even make a videotape. Plus, there’s this easy-to-use website called KnowYourStuff.org that makes creating and keeping a home inventory a breeze. Here are some tips the Insurance Information Institute suggests when making your home inventory:
- Keep receipts when available.
- Note the make, model and cost of the items your purchase.
- If you’re not using KnowYourStuff.org, store a copy of your inventory in a safe place outside of your home. This could be a friend’s house or a safe deposit box.
- Take special care to note any big ticket items you own or purchase, like jewelry, collectibles and electronics. Valuable items may need separate insurance – check with your insurance agent on this.
- Commonplace items like toys and clothing should be noted as well. For items like these, it’s okay to make a general estimate of the number you have and their value.
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, take it one room at a time. For example, start with the living room one month, move to the kitchen next, then the bedroom and so on. The work and time invested will certainly be worth it should you find yourself dealing with any damage to your home or a major loss. Save yourself the stress and prepare for the unexpected now.