Why Should You Do a Home Inventory for Your Homeowners Insurance?

Written by April Weismann on 05/27/2020 04:33 PM in Homeowners Insurance,. Personal Insurance.

Maintaining an up-to-date list of your possessions is one of the best ways to ensure that you can fully benefit from your homeowners insurance policy in the event of a covered claim. If you haven’t yet cataloged the items in your New Hampshire home, here are several reasons to do so.

Why You Should Do A Home Inventory for Your NH Homeowner's Insurance:

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Select the Right Amount of Personal Property Coverage

First, an accurate home inventory can help you ensure you have the right amount of personal property coverage on your homeowner's insurance policy.

New Hampshire homeowners insurance typically include personal property coverage that protects the belongings of the insured in a covered loss. Such items include things like clothing, furniture, appliances, books, electronics, and other goods. 

The standard amount of personal property coverage that a homeowners policy provides is often based on a percentage of the policy’s dwelling coverage.  As this is usually anywhere between 50 and 80% of the dwelling limit, this is typically adequate coverage, but maybe not for everyone.  In some situations, the automatic limit may not be enough and coverage should be increased.

While you can sometimes guess whether a homeowner's policy affords adequate personal property coverage, having a home inventory list will help you more accurately determine how much of this coverage you need. Once you have an inventory completed, you can use it to calculate the value of your personal possessions and make sure you get at least that much personal property coverage.

Moreover, an inventory can show an aggregate and a categorized list of what you own. These different lists can be compared with your policy as some categories of personal property have specific coverage limits such as jewelry, firearms, cash, and securities.

Simplify Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Second, a current home inventory will also prove helpful if you ever need to file a claim against your homeowner's policy. The inventory would serve as a list of what you had before the incident that both you and the insurer could reference.

For yourself, an inventory can help you remember everything that you owned. Without a list of what you had before a covered loss, it’s virtually impossible to remember everything.   Even if you have a general idea, could you list exactly what you had down to the brand, year, and specific model?  Additionally, almost no one will be able to list what each item was for the most accurate valuation possible.

For your insurer, an inventory serves as supporting evidence of what you owned before a covered loss. A list and pictures of owned belongings can be submitted to verify that you did indeed have what you claim was lost or destroyed.

Possibly Qualify for Tax Benefits or Financial Assistance

In major catastrophes that substantially affect many people, the federal or state government will sometimes make tax benefits or financial assistance available to those affected. In order to qualify for benefits or assistance, though, you usually need to substantiate your losses. This simply means you need to support your claims with evidence, and a home inventory can help you do that for government assistance just as it can for a homeowner's coverage claim.

What is the Best Way to Complete an Inventory?

With today's technology, it is relatively easy to pick from numerous apps available.  As technology is continuously changing, we can not recommend one in particular, but here are some essential things to consider so you can make the decision that is best for you.

  1. Keep it digital: A home inventory is only useful if it can be retrieved after a loss.  No one assumes that their home will be destroyed in a fire, but it does happen.  If your list goes up in smoke, it will not be worth the paper.  This is why uploading the list to the cloud or having a digital backup is the easiest way to ensure it will always be available when needed.
  2. Keep it up-to-date: Creating a home inventory is daunting, and as long as you keep adding or replacing your personal property, the job is never done.  Don't let this discourage you, as the majority of the work occurs in creating the initial list.  It should not be that time consuming to keep it up to date.  To ensure it remains current, perhaps update it monthly when you pay your bills or balance your bank account.  Regularity is what will keep the task manageable.
  3. Do a little research: Picking the right way to do a home inventory can seem tough.  With new apps being developed all the time, which one is best?  We would caution anyone to use an app that is not well tested or used because if the app is no longer supported, it may not be available to you when needed.

    Some carriers also have a home inventory app available at no cost to their insureds.  This is great; however, if you ever plan on leaving that company, you may no longer have access to your home inventory.

    We would suggest that you use a vendor that is highly rated and allows for a digital backup.

Work with a New Hampshire Agent

If you have any questions about creating a home inventory or filing a homeowners claim, contact the independent insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Our New Hampshire agents are familiar with the many nuances of homeowner's insurance, and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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