Why have a personal property inventory? - Part 1

A personal property inventory is a detailed room-by-room record of your belongings Provide a description and value for each item. Include brand name, manufacturer, purchase date, serial number, and model when possible. Receipts and appraisals are helpful, as are videos and photographs. Don't overlook contents stored in closets, garages, and outbuildings.

There are several ways to make a personal property inventory. Some people like a handwritten record, journal, or notebook. Tech-savvy individuals may prefer a web-based template, app, or computer software program. Or, there may be a professional in your community that will put the document together for a fee. All are effective options.

Use the personal property inventory to evaluate your contents insurance needs before something happens. Tips to keep in mind:

  • Determine the total value of all your belongings. Compare this figure to the policy's contents coverage limit. Talk to your homeowners agent if you need additional protection. Most insurers offer a variety of endorsements, including personal property floaters, that tailor coverage to unique needs.
  • Review personal property coverage outlined in the homeowners insurance policy. Personal property is typically insured for specific losses, identified as covered perils. Covered perils are events that cause sudden and accidental damage like fire, windsotrm, theft, and more.
  • Homeowners insurance policies contain exclusions and loss settlement provisions that affect contents claims. Look for limitations and restrictions on jewelry, artwork, computers, and other valuables. Buy-back coverage is often available but must be in place before a loss occurs. Consider adding contents replacement cost coverage to remove depreciation as a loss settlement factor. Be familiar with your policy deductible, as this is how much you pay out-of-pocket with each personal property loss.
  • Keep your personal property inventory in a safe deposit box, fireproof container, or other offsite location.
  • Update and revise the personal property inventory regularly.