Not quite a year ago, Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage in the northeastern U.S. Nearly 1.1 million homeowners filed claims related to Sandy, and insurers have paid about $18.8 billion to policyholders, not counting payouts from the National Flood Insurance Program. Many homeowners, even those who had a smart home insurance policy and flood coverage, still face a long road to recovery.
While images of the devastation in the Northeast remain strong in your mind, now is the time to think about what you would do if it happens to you this year. That means examining your home insurance and making sure you have enough coverage, including flood insurance, because flooding typically is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. But here’s something you might overlook: Now is the time to prepare a detailed home inventory.
Why make a home inventory?
A home inventory is a catalog of all of your insured items. When it comes time to file a claim, you’ll need to provide your insurance company a detailed list of everything you lost. If you don’t have the paperwork or forget to list a valuable item, filing your home insurance claim could turn into one big headache.
How to make a home inventory
The easiest way to get started on an inventory is by using our ready-made template, although you can make your own. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Simply make a list of which valuables are covered in your home insurance policy, take pictures and keep all of receipts and other proof of ownership in one place. It’s a good idea to include a brief description of each item, so make a quick note of the age, model and serial number. You’ll also need to be able to provide the original purchase price and an estimated current value in order to receive reimbursements for lost or damaged items.
What to include
Anything you think you should be reimbursed for in a claim should be added to your home inventory, including your wardrobe, jewelry, electronics, TVs, computers, art, valuable collectibles, sports equipment, tools, musical instruments and other items that may be covered in your home insurance policy’s contents coverage. This also could be a good time to evaluate your possessions to determine whether you have enough coverage. Standard home insurance typically limits coverage for high-value items such as jewelry and fine art.
Where to store it
Your home inventory won’t be very useful if it’s damaged in a claim along with your other belongings. Store one hard copy in a fireproof box in a safe place in the house, and keep a digital copy as well. It’s also a good idea to send your home inventory to a friend or family member for safekeeping, or go ahead and forward it to your insurance company so they’ll already have it on hand before you even start the claims process. Most of all, save yourself the stress of having to create a listing from scratch in the days after a disaster.
Would you be prepared if a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy struck your home? Rather than trying to remember which belongings you deserve reimbursements for after the fact, write them down now and create a detailed catalog for easy reference when you need it. It only takes a few minutes, and it’s one of the easiest ways to help speed up the claims process and get back on your feet as soon as possible. Don’t get caught in a storm unprepared – create your home inventory today.