In the event of a fire, flood, or other natural disasters, many of your possessions may be damaged or demolished altogether. Experiencing a catastrophe is a stressful experience, and it is difficult to remember and report all of your valuables and items that were ruined. Insurance companies require a detailed list of the possessions that you are claiming. The Insurance Information Institute suggests starting a home inventory as soon as possible. If you already have an up-to-date inventory prepared of all of the items you own, it will make the claims process run more smoothly.
An updated inventory will help the insurance claim settle faster and will help you determine the correct amount of insurance to purchase. In order to get properly compensated for your belongings, you need to have detailed information prepared. Although Mr. Restore will provide an analysis of your exact damage situation and help you navigate the insurance process, it is helpful for the adjuster to assess the property successfully with a home inventory already prepared.
What Items Should I Be Documenting?
You should be documenting anything of value that you would like to be compensated for in the case your possessions are destroyed in a fire, storm, or flood. The more detailed your inventory, the more likely you are to get reimbursed. Start with your most expensive and valuable possessions, including jewelry, electronics (computers, televisions, cameras), and household appliances. Be sure to document your furniture, clothes, and accessories as well. It may seem overwhelming at first to record every item you own, but it is much easier to do this ahead of time when you have the items in front of you rather than trying to remember what you own after a disaster.
When documenting your items, record the exact brand and model number to ensure you will be compensated for the correct amount of money. If you report a generic item, such as a "Laptop Computer," the insurance company may reimburse you for the cheapest laptop rather than the one you originally owned.
What Methods Should I Use to Document?
Mr. Restore has helped hundreds of companies and families put their lives back together after a disaster has damaged their property and belongings. We understand the best and easiest ways to document your belongings in order to make the insurance claims process move quickly and efficiently. Remember, no matter which method you choose to create your home inventory, be sure to keep copies in several locations, such as a safety deposit box, in your office, or with a friend/family member. It is possible that a copy of your inventory could be destroyed along with the rest of your possessions during a flood, fire, or storm.
The easiest way to document your belongings is to walk around your house and record everything you own. Take your time, and be sure to record everything. Open kitchen cabinets and closet doors to ensure you are reporting all of your possessions. Take multiple clips, one for each room of the house, to make sure you are covering each room and the video is not too long. This is the fastest method, and insurance companies normally accept this type of proof. If this method is more your speed, be sure to contact your insurance agency to ensure a video is acceptable. Be sure to have a hard copy and a digital copy of your video.
Pictures are a similar method to taking videos of all your possessions. Again, be sure to open all doors and cabinets in your home. Take pictures of serial numbers and keep a hard and digital copy of all pictures you take. You will end up with a lot of pictures; be sure to keep them organized so it is easy to find what you are looking for. Create folders for each category or room of your house. If you have receipts for items that you plan on claiming, take pictures of those as well.
If written documentation is more your speed, a spreadsheet is a great way to organize all of your possessions. You can even add pictures of items you are claiming in a spreadsheet. Possible columns to use when creating a spreadsheet include "Item, Description, Serial Number, and Price." Google Sheets is a great tool for creating a detailed inventory since it can be accessed from anywhere.
Apps and Online Resources
There are many software programs that are designed to help you create a home inventory. These are great resources to use because they cannot be destroyed and will always be stored online. Many websites and apps can be used on your smartphone and allow you to make entries for specific rooms and properties. There are many programs out there to use, but some of the best include the following:
Any method you choose to document your belongings in your home or business will be useful. The insurance claims process can be intimidating, but Mr. Restore is here to walk you through the entire restoration process. In fact, we upload photos of the damage and send email updates of our progress on your restoration project directly to you and your insurance company. We have the knowledge and ability to work with many different insurance companies to help you reach a quick and successful recovery.