Homeowners, it’s time to update your home inventory

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Add those holiday gifts to your home inventory

  1. Add those holiday gifts you received – especially the more pricey ones to your home inventory.
  2. Don’t have a home inventory? Here’s how to get started.
  3. Store your completed inventory on the Cloud or in a safe deposit box, and be sure to update it at least yearly.

With the holidays and gift-giving behind us, now’s a good time for homeowners to update their home inventory to reflect all those holiday gifts.

Holiday retail sales increased this past year by 7.6% during November 1 to Christmas Eve. According to Forbes, clothing sales increased by 4.4%, in-store shopping saw an increase in sales of 6.8% and online sales increased 10.6%.

The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics report that a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

Since all those new gifts are now stored in homes, homeowners – it may be worth your while to update your home inventory to be sure they’re properly insured.

“With more Americans spending money this year on consumer goods, it is important to remember that conducting a home inventory, which would include any new items acquired this holiday season, is a good way to start the new year,” Jeff Brewer, Vice President of Public Affairs at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, said in a press release, as reported by PropertyCasualty360. “An increase in purchases of high-ticket items brought into the home this season, including jewelry and electronics, means consumers should have an up-to-date account of valuables in the event of a fire or other disaster. This is also a good time of year to call your insurer or insurance agent in order to review your insurance policy.”

Why is a home inventory so important?

Yes, it can be an arduous and time-consuming task, but having one not only serves as a detailed record of what you own for your homeowners or renters policy, but it can also help document losses on any claim and also on your tax return. Hopefully you’ll never experience such a loss, but if you do – that home inventory is absolutely invaluable.

 

How to create your home inventory

Because it may seem daunting, both Bankrate and I.I.I. suggest you pick an easy place to start, such as your small kitchen appliances, a sport equipment closet, even a utility closet. You can either take photos of the items or cover them all in multiple videos. Just be sure to include close-ups of items. You’ll also want to give the age of the item, make and model, serial number, where you bought it, the original cost and any other pertinent details.

NOTE: You don’t have to do this for every single item – just those that have a higher price tag.

For instance, in your clothes closet, for your older items, just note “6 pairs of jeans, 4 sweaters, 3 flannel shirts,” etc. Any higher priced items, such as designer duds, you’ll want to record additional information including original prices.

They both suggest another option: start with your most recent purchases or holiday gifts, since those details are fresh on your mind. Then go back to your older items.

You may also want to start with your big-ticket items such as original art, jewelry, collectibles, electronics. Take more detailed photos of these items. Keep sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals with your inventory.

If any of your belongings are of exceptionally high value, note that additional value on your inventory. You may want to discuss these items with your insurance agent to ensure they’re adequately covered.

Don’t forget items that live outdoors such as patio furniture and pool equipment, or in your garage such as your tools, or your items that are kept in a storage unit.

Still seems overwhelming? Bankrate offers a list of home inventory apps and technology to make inventorying easier.

Once your initial inventory is complete (and yes, it may take a few weeks to complete one in your spare time), you need a safe place to store your inventory. Store photos and videos on the Cloud, where you can always access them. Keep a copy of your detailed list in a safe deposit box or save it to the Cloud as well.

And remember: this isn’t a once-and-done project. You’ll need to update your inventory as you purchase new items and get rid of old ones, so plan on updating it at least once a year.