Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Having Homeowner's Insurance is About More Than Just Writing a Payment Check

I'm thinking about this because my client's found themselves with an insurance person painstakingly trying to recreate every little thing in their home. Thankfully they have insurance, but what they did not have, was an itemization of what they owned. When my clients get the keys to their new homes, there is a lot of excitement about the house and a lot of work to do to get moved in. One thing I hope never gets overlooked is the need to itemize your belongings.

Take photos of your rooms, your closets, everything. The photos can be done easily, digitally, but don't just keep the photos on your laptops because the laptops might burn up in a fire - it's reality.

Itemize your belongings. Clothes, shoes, books, cookware, everything. Jewelery. If you have a garage, itemize everything in there as well. Some (most?) insurance companies will provide you with itemization sheets. If they don't, do it anyway. As you add things to your 'inventory - new computers, phones, pagers, etc., take the photos and add to your list. Did you, Ms. Homeowner, go to an art show and buy a painting? Take a photo, take the artists info and purchase receipt. And keep a record of it.

Now that you have accumulated photos and items? Get a safety deposit box at a bank. Yes you can store an itemized list and digital photos on a website and retrieve it from some other computer location. But what about the necessary receipts? I still think a safety deposit box is the best bet.

It's easy to overlook this 'itemization' step because of all the activity involved in moving into a new home. And because it takes time you might be inclined to put it off. I'm suggesting this go on a list of very important things to do - and sooner rather than later. It never hurts to be prepared...and it can save you a lot of hassle should the unthinkable happen...a fire. Peace Out - 3C


Blog Diva said...

This is very true and I agree with you 100%. Following this process can save alot of time and aggravation in the long run if some unfortunate event should happen to your home.

Leanne Paynter said...

Carole, this is so important and very good information. I'd like to add that if time is a constraint, even a video tape of your belongings is a good idea. Be sure to videotape inside closets, drawers, cabinets, etc. Although a safe deposit box is definitely the best place to store the videotape, photos and/or itemized list, an alternative is to make a copy of the tape and ask your parents or siblings to store a copy in a safe/secure place in their home.

Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

Blog Diva, thanks for stopping by and how true, the time when we could all focus the least, under the stress of losing our belongings and our home, is not the time to have to recreate our inventories!
Leanne, that is a terrific idea, because videos are easy and cover 3/4 of what you need. Sometimes the receipts wind up giving you pertinent information that allows for true value on insurance claims, so I still like people to do that but yes, a video cam is a terrific option for photos. Thanks!

Bonnie Erickson said...

My trouble is assigning value to things that others don't attribute value to, i.e., the dolly wardrobe made for me by my now deceased grandfather. There are no receipts for such a thing and the value to others is nothing compared to what it means to me. Plus, the quality of any replacement piece would be inferior unless another were hand made like the first.