Home insurance is never a fun topic. It’s annoying to have to fork out for the premiums, and the only time it pays off is when catastrophe strikes. It feels like one of those necessary evils. A rainy day fund for a day you hope never happens.
But, all too often, it does happen. At some point in your life some measure of ill fortune is likely to strike. When it does, you want to be prepared.
There are a lot of options out there for home insurance, and you should make sure you do your research and find a provider and a plan that’s right for you.
For today, we’re going to talk about something that can save you a big headache if you ever do need to cash in on your home insurance, and that’s creating a home inventory.
Why you need a home inventory:
1. To buy the right type and amount of insurance.
Ideally, you’ll take a home inventory before even applying for home insurance. That way you can be better informed when choosing which type and what amount of insurance you need. Knowing what you’re protecting will certainly help in deciding how much protection you need.
2. Because you can’t even remember where you left your keys.
When disaster strikes there’s a good bet you’ll have a lot on your mind. That’s not the time you want to rely on your memory to account for all your worldly possessions. Having an up to date home inventory will help make your claim go much smoother.
When to make a home inventory
Yesterday! Or, if you didn’t get around to it yesterday: today!
You never know when disaster might strike, so this isn’t the kind of thing you want to put off.
However, a near perfect time to take a home inventory is while you’re moving.
Think about it, you’re already going through all your possessions twice. First when you load them one by one into boxes. Then again when you pull them out and decide where to put them in your new home.
While you’re doing this take the time to make note of what you’re putting in each room.
How to make a home inventory
There are a number of tools and apps available, but there are two simple and free ways that we think are the easiest.
Whether you use a spreadsheet in Google Sheets or a blank page in Google Docs, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you take account of everything.
The important thing about Google Drive is that all the information is stored in the cloud and not on your computer’s hard drive. After all, if trouble strikes your home, there’s no guarantee you computer even survives!
Set up a document with the rooms of your home as headers and fill out all the items.
If you don’t want to use Google, another off-site cloud solution, like Dropbox, would work just as well.
Make a video
Does the thought of writing down every single thing you own sound tedious and boring? Instead you could simply make a video.
Grab your phone and film yourself walking through each room of your house while you provide a commentary of all the items that you see, including makes, models, where you bought it, and what you paid.
This method won’t provide an easy-to-reference document like a Google spreadsheet, but it will probably take you less time. In the end, any inventory is better than none.
Just make sure you save this video somewhere outside your home (cloud storage is a great idea) so that if something happens at home or to your phone you don’t have to worry about your video being lost.
The more value, the more you document
Everything in your home wasn’t created equal. The same should go for your documentation. You don’t need the same level of detail for the Ikea utensils you bought while you were in university as you do for the jewelery passed down to you from your grandma or your brand new laptop.
The more expensive the item is, the more detail you should have in your documentation. Ideally, that means writing down serial numbers, keeping or photographing receipts, and documenting anything else that will help to accurately capture its value.
As we said above, the best time to prepare for a catastrophe is yesterday. If you don’t have a home inventory, start one today.
This activity might also provide you with an opportunity to take a closer look at your home insurance to make sure you’re comfortable with your coverage based on all the items that you actually own.
The ultimate goal is peace of mind, allowing you to feel confident and comfortable in the coverage you have so that if something awful does happen, you know you’ll be taken care of.