According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), home insurance companies pay more than $150 billion each year in claims from policyholders. These claims are for damages caused by fires, tornadoes, robberies, dog bites, falls and other covered events. Having a home inventory makes sure you won’t get shortchanged if you need to tap into part of that $150 billion. Here are four reasons why a home inventory helps with an insurance claim.
Here’s why: Many causes of destruction in the home are unexpected. Lightning strikes the house and causes a structural fire. A tornado causes expensive windows to shatter. And delicate items inside the house are damaged by the wind. In an ideal world, we would be able to predict a disaster ahead of time. But, often there’s little warning.
Being prepared at all times pays off because it helps make sure you get compensated correctly for the damage caused by disasters. You can do this by creating a home inventory that details your possessions and their worth.
Having a home inventory in place can provide a significant advantage when filing an insurance claim. It can improve the process in four different ways: organization of personal property, complete protection for your home’s contents, a form of evidence that can substantiate your claim and a tool for convenience that helps the claim filing process. Each of these areas helps with a quicker and easier insurance claim process.
It is better to be organized with your personal property. Especially when you are working with your insurance company. Organizing and knowing the value of your possessions will help promote clarity and understanding between you and your adjuster in the claims process. Your provider wants you to be compensated for your losses. And an inventory helps everyone involved in the process.
In the physical and emotional chaos of a disaster, it can be difficult to remember all the contents of your home. Shock and loss can take a toll and cause you to forget important items when you are filing a claim. This can cause you to lose the opportunity to be compensated fully for all items that deserve replacement. Having a home inventory in place can guard against the emotional toll of your disaster. A home inventory can reduce the pressure on your personal memory.
During the aftermath of a disaster, it can seem like the whole world is against you. Having a home inventory set up before you file a claim helps you establish definitely what you had before the damage was done. Photos and receipts can bolster your claim. Your home inventory can serve as a powerful piece of documentation to present to your insurance adjuster.
Although making a complete home inventory sounds like an inconvenience. It is a whole lot more convenient than having to complete an inventory from memory when your property is damaged. Having an inventory already in place can improve your relationship with your claims adjuster. The overall quality of the help you receive for repairing damage. And the accuracy of your claim. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to understand the worth of your home and property.
How to create an inventory
Creating a home inventory is now easier than ever before. Many websites include sample forms to guide you in the process. And some offer applications for smartphones and tablets that will allow you to take photos of your possessions. You can tag them and attach other information to identify them. Some will send the completed version to your provider to keep on file.
Regardless of how you complete your inventory, you should be careful to keep copies in a number of locations, including an electronic one if possible. You also should update it regularly to make sure you won’t be caught short.
About Author: This article was contributed by Katherine Wood and Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley, contributors to the HomeInsurance.com Blog. The HomeownersInsurance.com blog serves as a resource center for insurance consumers across the country.