It's that time of year where we get together as friends and family and celebrate the holidays. We can enjoy the year that has been and look forward to what next year will bring. We all eat way too much delicious food, have lots of fun and of course... give and receive tons of presents. Although this is not the primary function of the holidays, it's still a major part in our society and can be a very fun part.
What do we do with all of these presents (the one's we actually want to keep that is)? Well, they get incorporated into our daily lives and are hardly noticeable weeks or months later. This is very often what happens to anything we buy and use in and out of our home. We tend to forget about them over time. The problem eventually becomes remembering what you even have!
This is where we can run into a problem with insurance. When you have loss from fire, water, wind or whatever else damages your stuff, you will be asked by your insurance company to complete an inventory. They may provide varying degrees of assistance with the process but the main problem becomes remembering what you actually have. There are a number of ways you can tackle this problem.
One simple and easy way to tackle this is simply to record a video, with your phone or camera, as you walk through every room in your home. Make sure you open cupboards, closets, boxes, etc. It is not necessarily important to spend a lot of time on each item. As long as you move slowly, you can always pause the video and take a closer look at certain items. Do you keep items in storage? Well you'll need to take video of those items too. If items are in boxes, you'll need to open the boxes and at least get an idea of the contents inside even if you don't get everything. You can make this process as simple or as detailed as you would like. Keep in mind that the more time you spend now, the easier it will be if you need to file a claim for these items in the future.
Another option is to take pictures of rooms or specific items. You may want to do this in addition to the video especially if you have some particularly valuable items or artwork that you want to document. Make sure you keep any authenticating documents, receipts, appraisals, etc. in a fire-resistant safe or at least in a separate location from the artwork/valuable item itself. These documents don't do you any good if they are damaged along with the item they are meant to record.
The last method is to individually list every item in your home and in storage on an inventory sheet. Here are some sample inventory sheets: http://bit.ly/2jJsnGr, http://bit.ly/2hFJZ1A, http://bit.ly/2wz3K1a. This is the most time consuming but will make processing a claim a breeze since this is exactly what the insurance company will ask you to do at the time of loss. If you already have it done, you can cut the claim payment process down by days or weeks! Again, make sure these documents are kept in a secure location such as a fire-resistant safe, safe deposit box, storage facility or simply in a secure cloud location.
The most important thing to do is to make some sort of attempt at documenting the personal property that you own. It's not as important that you use a particular method as long as you do something to help you out in case of a claim. If you need help in completing an inventory or have questions on what to do, please don't hesitate to contact the Frederick Agency at 419-341-1538. After you are done with your inventory, call or stop in and we'll make sure your limits are appropriate and you have the coverages you need to protect yourself thoroughly.
By: Brennan Madison