"It won't happen to me!"
"I know I should do it, but I'll do it later."
No one plans on fire, theft or a disaster, but it can happen to anyone. This hits very close to home when thinking about the 1998 tornado that hit so many homes in Dunwoody. Trying to recall or prove your personal property after an incident could be very costly. Statistics from the National Insurance Industry show that those homeowners who have an accurate, up-to-date home inventory typically collect more when submitting an insurance claim.
HOW AN INVENTORY CAN HELP
If you provide your insurance company with a complete list of your household goods and personal belongings you're sure to receive compensation for everything your policy covers. A home inventory helps claims to be settled faster and more accurately. In addition, it confirms that you have adequate coverage for your belongings.
WHAT A COMPLETE INVENTORY CONTAINS
The best home inventory includes a listing of all your items with pertinent facts, receipts for your most valuable objects, videotape or photographs of your home and contents and current appraisals.
IT'S EASY TO GET STARTED
Prepare your inventory by hand or on a computer. Several excellent software packages are available just for this purpose, or design your own with a spreadsheet program. Keep in mind, a computerized inventory is easy to update and store.
COVER ONE ROOM AT A TIME
An easy way to complete your inventory is to tackle a different room of your home each week until everything's listed. Record your high-valued items, such as jewelry, silverware, special collections, antiques, paintings and artwork.
Then list furniture, carpeting, and electronics like TVs, stereo equipment and computers. Remember clothing, draperies, wall hangings, rugs, CDs, tapes, pots and pans, linens, tools, lamps and appliances.
Open drawers, cupboards and closets, and record what's inside. Open toolboxes, china cabinets and storage bins and include their contents.
USE A CAMERA OR VIDEO CAMERA
Supplement your inventory with photos or videotape of your belongings. These provide further proof of ownership and add detail to written descriptions. They also help document each item's condition and size. Videotape or take wide-angle photos of entire rooms, which will help show the magnitude of a loss. If you use a video camera, you can record audio descriptions and make special comments. Take individual, close-up shots of expensive items and group shots of lower-value items.
Zoom in on labels and special features, like signatures on artwork or serial numbers on appliances and electronics. Be sure to date each photo or use the date imprint function on your video camera.
When you inventory outdoor items, include bicycles, sporting goods, yard equipment and any other articles kept outside. It's also a good idea to photograph each side of your home's exterior. Include your carport and other structures, like a storage shed. Capture trees, shrubs, landscaping and the driveway. Heavy equipment used during or after a disaster can cause damage to these areas and it is helpful to have a record of their appearance in case of loss.
AFTER YOU'VE COMPLETED YOUR INVENTORY
Once you've completed your inventory, copy everything, including lists, appraisals, receipts, videotapes, disks, and computer printouts. Have an extra set of photos developed. Store one inventory off premises. Store the information in a safe deposit box is best or ask a friend or relative to keep a copy.
Update your inventory every four to six months. In the meantime, save receipts for any new items. If you make a major purchase, add it as soon as possible. Delete items you no longer have.
Remember a thorough home inventory helps you keep track of important details that could very well escape your memory during a time of trauma or stress. Save yourself time, money and frustration by planning ahead and completing a personal property inventory.
Portis Building & Interiors
4681 N Shallowford Rd
Dunwoody GA 30338