When choosing homeowners insurance, most consumers think more about the value of the home than about their prized possessions inside. When determining coverage needs, it is important to know all the "stuff" in your home that warrants special protection. Insurable items not only include luxury items like jewelry and art, but also fun purchases that support personal passions. Whether it is gourmet cooking gadgets, designer handbags or high-end electronics, what you invest in personal passions can have an important impact on your insurance needs.
One of the best ways to make sure your possessions are fully protected is to document them with a home inventory. Here's how.
In 2011 alone, severe weather disasters across the country inflicted more than $43 billion in damage. But research suggests that more than half of consumers do not have an inventory of their possessions. Creating a simple home inventory helps you track what you own and what it is worth, making important insurance decisions easier.
Group your possessions into logical categories, i.e., by hobby, by room in your home, etc.
Your list should include celebration purchases like jewelry and art, as well as everyday leisure items such as televisions and guitars.
Don't forget items you use rarely such as holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.
Pull together copies of original sales receipts and/or appraisal documents. Also note model and serial numbers.
Carefully photograph or videotape each item and document a brief description, including age, purchase price and estimated current value. Download a home inventory checklist (PDF).
Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible place online, on your computer or in a fire-proof box or safe deposit box. Consider sharing a copy with friends, relatives and your insurance provider.
iPhone® users — The NAIC’s free myHOME Scr.APP.book downloadable app lets you quickly photograph and capture descriptions of your possessions room by room, then store electronically for safekeeping. View video demo.
Android® users — With the myHOME Scr.APP.book home inventory app, you can quickly capture images, descriptions, and serial numbers of your possessions, then organize the information by room or by category. The app even creates a back-up file for email sharing. View video demo.
Creating a home inventory is easier than ever thanks to myHOME Scr.APP.book, a new iPhone and Android application from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The free myHOME Scr.APP.book app lets you quickly photograph and capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores them electronically for safekeeping. The app organizes information room by room, and even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.
If you prefer the low-tech way, download our Home Inventory Checklist (.pdf) which provides a room-by-room guide for your home inventory. You can fill it out, update it, and keep it as an on-going record of your possessions.