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Home Inventory: Put a Value on Your Valuables

What’s the value of that nice bauble you received from your Valentine? How much did you invest last spring in an updated wardrobe? Are you enjoying the HD TV Santa brought you, have no idea where the elves tossed the receipt?

If you’re not certain of the value of items in your home, you’re not alone. But, that’s not the way it should be if you want to recover valuables that are lost due to a burglary, fire, flood, or other major home-insurance claim.

Taking time to document the items of value in your home – typically, anything over $50 – results in a compilation of essential information you may need if any of the above occur. Without a detailed list of the contents of your home, it will be much more challenging to receive accurate compensation for your loss.

Many options exist to help homeowners and renters take inventory of their belongings. Home-inventory sheets available online come in a variety of ready-to-download formats to help you accurately list all your home’s contents. Some checklists group a home’s contents by room, while some group them by categories, such as appliances, clothing and precious medals. Search online for a free download that fits your needs.

A list is a great start, but a home-inventory file is more than a list of your belongings. Home-inventory documents also include photographs, detailed descriptions of high-value or high-theft items and serial numbers, and descriptions of other valuables.

As you create the home-inventory file, be sure to include any warranty documents and receipts that accompany valuable items in your home – such as appliances, computers and other electronics. For every item, list the actual value and its replacement value as well.

Creating a home-inventory file also helps homeowners and renters know the real value of the contents of their home, at which point they can be sure they have adequate insurance to cover loss. For that matter, check with your insurance agent to clarify what your homeowners or renter’s policy says about covering personal or household items.

Home-inventory isn’t beneficial only for insurance purposes, such activities also can help in asset distribution as you plan your estate, too.

And, it may go without saying, but once your file is created, store it at a location away from your home or in a cloud-based account (and not only on your home computer).

By creating a home-inventory checklist accompanied by a complete file with photos, descriptions, serial numbers, warranties and receipts, you’ll have more peace of mind that your valuables are covered in the event you must make a claim. It’s a today chore that could save you a throbbing headache and significant financial loss tomorrow.