Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Your Home Inventory may be Very Important!

The idea is to have plenty of insurance to make up for any loss that you may occur from a fire, burglary, or just being careless. The problem here is that we all take the idea of having a complete home inventory to back up those claims very casually. Hey… that just means we can be lazy, but if you are ever faced with having a loss, there is no tool more valuable than having a complete, up-to-date, well documented inventory to validate your claim.

The best way to handle an inventory is to have it broken down on a room by room basis. Start by writing down every item that has any value for each room. You want to make sure you record the price you paid for each item, and the item’s current approximate value. You want to be able to compare these prices and to shop your insurance to find out who will give you the best replacement cost should a loss occur.

The main focus needs to be on the items that have some real value. Items that don’t have much value can be recorded, but may not make much of a difference unless a catastrophic loss, such as a fire, occurs. Focusing on the more expensive items makes more sense so you can be fairly thorough in recording serial numbers, make and model of the item listed, and making sure you have the sales receipt copied and kept in a notebook. If you don’t have a receipt, you can use pictures of the items and their price taken at the store, or even on internet sites that sell the items. You may even find the sale on an old credit card statement that you can use as proof.

Another good idea is to have pictures of each item showing the item and the serial number and another general picture of the room showing the items that you inventoried in the room. Still pictures or video will suffice, but most people will do both using the stills for the detail on the items and the video to place them.

Jewelry should always be photographed as a close up still picture. Try to use as much natural light as possible because different types of lighting give off different colors. Incandescent bulbs give off an orange glow, and florescent lights give off more of a green hue, so having as much natural light will enhance the picture. Another idea is to use a camera that can correct for different lighting conditions and will enhance the pictures that you take automatically.

The final goal of the inventory is to make sure that you have enough insurance coverage, but not to be carrying too much, and to have as many of your items covered at replacement value. You might also want to make sure that “replacement value” means replacement with new, like kind, items and not refurbished, or worse yet, used.

One other note… Make sure that you put some sort of personal mark on things like TVs, stereos, and other items where that is possible. These marks can help law enforcement agencies identify your belongings if they are recovered after a theft.

Ok… that’s all I can think of for this topic right now. I’m sure I’ve missed something here, so let me know if I have so I can get your ideas into the next installment on this topic. It is an easy process, and I know that you will feel much better after you get your inventory done. I know I did… Have a Great Day, and let me know if I can help you in any way. - Fauna MacKillip

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