Our last post dealt with various tools and technologies for keeping home inventories, and we just learned about a free new app for iPhones. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have introduced myHOME Scr.APP.book, a tool that lets you capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers. It looks great. You can see a brief 2 minute video demo below and you can get tips from NAIC’s InsureU on how to create a home inventory. And if you don’t have an iPhone, there’s always the low-tech method, which works too. NAIC offers a Home inventory checklist.
Also, be sure to check our our last blog post for other alternatives.
Whether you rent or own, it’s critically important to know your stuff. Do you have a home inventory of all your possessions? According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), about half of those recently surveyed do not.
Nick Hytrek talks about the importance of logging your possessions in a recent article in the Sioux City Journal, and notes that the post-holiday period is a good time to start one or update any that may exist:
“It’s a lot easier to take inventory now rather than after a fire has gutted your home. There’s enough to think about without having to try to remember everything you owned once the insurance adjuster arrives.
“After a fire, they basically hand you a piece of paper and a pencil and say write down all your possessions,” said Wynn Gochenour, executive adminstrator at Paul Davis Restoration. “Most people don’t do it beforehand, but wish they would have.”
We’ve previously suggested Know Your Stuff, a free online tool issued by the Insurance Information Institute, that is great for this purpose. It offers a room-by-room inventory system that allows you to create, view, save, and print real time reports. You can learn more about this inventory system in a brief video clip. Hytek’s article also notes that there are national companies that will come in and do home inventories and valuation for you – a service that might be worth it if you have expensive collections.
Hytek offers the following tips for taking a home inventory, sourced from NAIC:
Document each item as completely as possible, including brand and model number.
Include receipts and/or canceled checks to prove what you paid for items.
Remember to include items you don’t use regularly, such as holiday decorations, sports equipment or tools.
Review your insurance policy to know what is covered and whether your possessions are insured for actual cash value (the amount it would take to replace or repair the item after depreciation) or for replacement cost (the amount it would take to repair or replace the item without deducting for depreciation).
For rare or valuable items such as jewelry, antiques or art, you may want to consider adding additional insurance — a rider — to your policy.
Keep the completed list outside of your home. Store it at your office, a family member’s house or safe-deposit box.
Planning to get or give a flat screen TV, a new laptop, or a smart phone this holiday season? If so, you aren’t alone. For the first time in more than 25 years, electronics are virtually tied with toys as the top Christmas gift item, according to holiday shopping polls conducted by America’s Research Group. CEO Britt Beemer says, “Electronics sales, especially flat-panel TV sets, are flying out the door this Christmas season.”
Was Santa good to you over the holidays? If you received any valuable gifts, you may want to review your insurance coverage to make sure that these items are adequately protected in the event of a loss. Standard homeowners, renters and condominium insurance policies will generally cover personal items, but policies often have limits of $1,000 to $2,000 on the dollar amount for certain valuables. You may also want to check your deductibles. It’s a good idea to review your policy to be sure of the extent of your coverage and to check with your insurance agent if you have any questions or doubts. You may want to add an endorsement (also called a rider) to give you additional coverage for valuable possessions.
Here’s a list of some potentially high-value items that you may want to consider for additional coverage:
In today’s tough economic climate, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) notes that many former homeowners may now be renters, either due to their own choice to downsize or due to a home foreclosure. In the light of this, NAIC offers an alert about renter’s insurance, which discusses the importance of renters’ insurance and dispels some of the most common misperceptions that people have about this type of insurance.
“Renter’s insurance is too expensive, and I already have enough bills to pay.” The average renter’s insurance policy costs between $15 and $30 per month. Replacing all of your possessions or being liable for an accident on your premises will cost much more.
“I don’t have that many valuables; renter’s insurance isn’t worth the cost.” Renter’s insurance policies can cover everything from electronics to clothing to household appliances. Even a minimal number of items could add up to thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, which can all be covered in a basic policy.
“My landlord has insurance, so I’m already protected.” Your landlord has insurance for structural damage to the building, and might even be protected against damage caused by tenants. However, this coverage does not extend to your personal property, nor does it protect you from being liable for damage you might cause to the building inadvertently (e.g., a kitchen fire or a plumbing mishap).
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, the Insurance Information Institute offers a free downloadable home inventory software This software will help you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you:
Purchase enough insurance to replace the things you own