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Matthew Hicks
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North Texas has had more than its fair share of extreme weather this year.  This past May was in fact the wettest May on record! Many people had the unfortunate task of dealing with flooding in and around their homes and businesses.  Hopefully many people affected by this rare flooding event were covered, and they had some way of reporting the losses to their insurance carriers. 

Now that the sunny days are here, it’s a good time to step back and think ahead to the next event where it would be great to have a list of your belongings that would make it quick and easy to submit to an insurance company.  This process is much easier to do when everything is intact, and you have a clear head.  Once you have the data available, then you’ll have great documentation that will make it easier to justify the different replacement values of items in your home or office to a claims processor.  Once you have the inventory taken, you can simply add in new purchases.   

One easy way to do this, is to create a video of your home and narrate it as you go.  You can go from room to room, and even read off serial numbers, model information and more.  While you can’t create an instant report from this method, it does give you the information you need if you did need to create a report to submit an insurance claim.  Make sure the video is backed-up or saved off-site so that it’s available in case of emergency.

There are a variety of online tools to assist you, and a number of smart-phone apps that make it easy to capture still pictures and videos of your home, along with purchase receipts, model and serial numbers and more.  As you consider different tools, make sure to collect at least these key items:

  • Description of the item
  • Serial number
  • Purchase date
  • Estimated value

Once you decide which tool to use, make sure that the information is stored somewhere offsite, and you can easily create a report of your valuables.  As you start the process, it would be advisable to enter in about ten items, and submit a report to your insurance agent to confirm that it has the information required to document the item.  Doing an initial sample will help you justify the time you’ll spend on the full inventory.  Once you’re ready to move forward, create an action plan to move from room to room, and tackle one room per week until you’re done.

Give special consideration to high-value items like jewelry and collectibles.  You may need additional documentation for these, and get additional coverage from your agent. 

As for the types of tools available, check with your insurance agent first.  There are a number of companies who have their own tools, and these are generally made available at no additional cost.  Here are three that are readily available:

An independent tool that allows you to enter 25 items to try it out is called “Home Contents - easy home inventory.”  It’s available for iPhone and iPad here.  This app was recently updated in May, and allows you to easily take pictures of each item, and receipts if you have them.  You can then record the purchase price, replacement cost, serial numbers and notes.  Look at the fun you can have after Christmas each year!  

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