You Might Have More Stuff Than You Think

January 27, 2015

insurance home inventory

image courtesy of Phiseksit/

Imagine you’ve just suffered a devastating fire. There’s nothing left but the burned out remnants of your home and everything that was in it. Your first worry is most likely, “Am I covered on my homeowners insurance for all of this?”

The fact of the matter is, you probably are. We do everything we can here at Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig to be sure your home and contents are insured properly so that in case of a loss you’re covered. That includes replacement cost on your contents so your settlement isn’t depreciated.

But believe it or not, in most cases the biggest challenge homeowners face in the event of a major fire is to list the contents they’ve lost. And this is especially true if they have special collections of stamps, coins, guns, baseball cards, etc. We know of a local woman who has amassed a Christmas ornament collection that is not only beautiful, but so large that she can’t get them all onto her tree anymore!

Since your homeowners insurance, for the most part, covers all of your stuff, after a loss it can seem an intimidating task to figure out how much your contents were worth or to remember what you had in the first place.

How to do an Insurance Home Inventory and Document What You Have

There are some things that you can do to document and record what you have that will make filing a claim much easier and will ensure that you get every penny that you deserve in the event of a loss.

If you have collectibles, get them appraised. We have insureds with the usual stamps and coins, but also valuable dolls, Depression glass, old records, books, sports memorabilia and more. The best thing you can do is have each item in the collection listed and then appraised by experts. Keep copies of that appraisal at another location such as your office or at a relative’s home.

Remember there are limits in most homeowners insurance policies for jewelry, silverware, firearms, and business property. Ask us for a list of items with special limits and consider adding more coverage if the basic amount isn’t enough for you. If you do decide to add these items to your policy, we would in most cases need an appraisal.

Sometimes it’s impractical to get an appraisal, such as the case with the Christmas ornament collection. Here we recommend you lay out all of the ornaments on a table or the floor and photograph or video them. These days that’s pretty easy just using your cell phone. Then, be sure the photos or videos are easily available if something happens to the collection.

Also, we’re very impressed with the Insurance Information Institute’s free software program that helps you create an insurance home inventory. You can find it on their special “Know Your Stuff” website.

Here you will be guided through a program to complete your home inventory plus you’ll be able to store it in the “cloud” for easy changes and updating. And, of course, if disaster does strike, it will be available to present to your insurance company as your official home inventory.

Our personal lines account reps are here to help you with your home inventory. We have inventory booklets you can use if you choose not to go with the Know Your Stuff website. The thing is, we want to make it easier for you to be able to list all of your contents in the event of a major loss at your home. Call us today and we’ll talk about getting this done ahead of time.

Until next time,
Your SZW Team

Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000.