Should You Have an Inventory of Your Possessions?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Making an inventory of our possessions is something that most of us think only excessively organized people do. Insurance companies recommend it, and it is the kind of thing that most of us have in the backs of our minds as something that we need to do. But very few people actually do it. There are, however, many ways in which we can benefit from doing so, and it doesn’t have to be a painful process.

Make a list of your home possessions

  • Some computer software companies have started releasing programs that help record our inventories. You walk through all the rooms in your house, type in the details of all your possessions and then load it onto a network. Having it stored online ensures that it will not be lost or damaged in case of damage to your property. Some of these programs even allow you to take pictures or videos of your possessions, which helps with the registration of features that you may forget to write down.

  • The greatest advantage of having an inventory is that none of your possessions will be overlooked in case you need to make an insurance claim. If you lose your possessions one by one, this is not so important. But if your home with all your possessions is destroyed by a natural disaster (such as a fire or flood), then it will be impossible to recall exactly what you owned without the help of an inventory. Most of us will be able to remember only the large and expensive things, not the smaller inexpensive things which we nevertheless value.

  • An inventory greatly helps to speed up the settling of an insurance claim. You will not have to spend days or weeks trying to remember all the objects that were in your house before the loss. You can take the list to the insurance company and start the process immediately. Moreover, if your list includes prices, brand names and other technical specifications then all the details of the proposed claim are known immediately.

  • If you have such an inventory, you can be sure that the correct prices of your possessions are recorded and that you are accordingly not under-insured. Check with your insurance company that you are insured for replacement value (this will help when items depreciate over time).

  • If you make an inventory, you can share it with your insurance broker.

  • Some insurance companies now offer discounts to clients with inventories, especially if they have video proof of having owned the objects on their list.

If something terrible were to happen to your property and possessions, it’s a very good idea to have a listed inventory of what you had.  This way, you can save yourself a lot of mental energy in trying to remember everything.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so even if you don’t have a list, a picture only takes a second to take and then you can store it.