In today’s world, life moves pretty fast. Most of us do all that we can to keep up with the daily demands of work, kids, home, and bills that compete for our attention and divide our time. The more we take on, the less time we have for ourselves and we tend to rush through our days with a sometimes haphazard effort to “get it all in.”
So what are the consequences? Some things don’t get finished and some very important things never get started. Sometimes these things are superfluous like painting the fence or weeding the garden. Other times these things are much more important to our future happiness. Things like a…home inventory?
We don’t typically notice, nor do we always care to make a list of, all of our worldly possessions when we don’t have a motivating reason to do so. People are motivated by emotions triggered by an event and a disaster situation is a motivating event for most everyone. Many times, someone who has suffered the devastation of a fire, natural disaster, or other catastrophic life event is not only dealing with the emotional aftermath of the event, they are also struggling to inventory what they lost when just yesterday they took their possessions for granted. Filing an insurance claim with no receipts, no documentation, no digital proof, and not a stitch of evidence that your possessions ever existed can add a lot of stress to an already stressful situation. Now is the time you will wish you had planned ahead and took the time to put together a home inventory.
A home inventory helps provide the information your insurance company needs to settle your claim, thus reducing the amount of “back and forth” needed to prove the value of what you’ve lost. How do you prove you owned a 70” LCD TV with no TV and no receipt? The claims process also takes time. Do you have the means to live elsewhere while you pay out-of-pocket to begin renovating or rebuilding your home? Taking inventory of your possessions on an annual basis can help speed this process along.
A home inventory can be created in many ways:
- Use software or one of the many websites available to keep a digital list of your possessions. KnowYourStuff.org from the Insurance Information Institute is a user-friendly site that’s free.
- Videotape your home’s contents and give a copy to your insurance agent who will keep it on file for you.
- Write out a list of the contents of your home and their value, then provide a copy to your insurance agent. Some insurance companies offer printed forms you can complete or fillable forms online.
Whatever method you choose to use, the important thing is to do it! Watch our video above for tips on how to get started with your home inventory. It does take time to create, but the time and stress your inventory alleviate after you’ve suffered a loss is invaluable.