The New Year is the Ideal Time to Inventory Your Belongings

Monday, January 20, 2014

Inventory of Home ContentsWith the hustle and bustle of the holiday season over, an extended period of time in which family members exchange gifts and enjoy the fruits of what they've given and received, many Canadians are now making use of their new-found belongings. While some of these possessions may be of little consequence and not cost very much should they be lost or damaged, others can be quite expensive. Some of the most popular gift purchases this year were related to technology, such as high-definition televisions, smartphones, computers and tablets, according to retailers.

With this in mind, the Insurance Bureau of Canada recently noted that this is the ideal time for take an inventory of what they now own, so that they can determine if they need to adjust their home insurance policy.

Bill Adams, vice president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, indicated that this is especially important to do for those people who have never performed one.

"Maintaining a home inventory protects you in the event of theft or damage to your home's contents, said Adams. "Having an inventory helps ensure you have the right amount of coverage and may help speed up the claims settlement process faster after a loss."

The IBC put together some suggestions for how to inventory possessions so that they're protected:

  • Determine value of items. Though it may be uncouth to ask someone how much a particular gift costs, a home inventory should have an approximate value for each item that's recorded. Additionally, if applicable, the serial number should be noted, as well as other identifying marks that can corroborate who the rightful owner of it is.

  • Purchase tenant insurance if you rent. Unlike home insurance, which traditionally includes financial protection for possessions, renters aren't covered under their landlord's coverage policy. Those take care of the actual structure should a unit be damaged by fire or a storm. Tenant insurance compensates policyholders for belongings that are stolen, lost or broken.

  • Use different means to inventory. Not only can an inventory be performed with some paper and a pen, but it's a good idea to use video when available. Recording video or taking a picture of insured property can expedite the claims process when they're made.

  • Put inventory somewhere safe. An inventory is of little use if it winds up lost. That's why it's important to keep it in an area that can be easily accessed, but at the same time isn't at risk of being misplaced or falling into the wrong hands.

  • Update inventory as needed. While the holidays may be a time of year where many possessions are gained in a short period of time, it's likely that more will be made between now and December. As such, inventories should be updated on a regular basis. This is not only recommended, but necessary in order for insurers to adequately compensate policyholders who have made a claim.

Holiday sales were swift in Canada this past holiday season, particularly during peak shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Credit and debit card processor Moneris reported that spending on these days climbed more than 19 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from 2012.

"This year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday were a real win-win for Canadian shoppers and merchants, alike," said Jeff Guthrie, chief sales and marketing officer at the payment processing solutions company. "While shoppers took advantage of pre-holiday bargains, merchants boosted their end-of-year revenues, with nearly all retailers seeing their sales increase significantly compared to 2012."

Consumer confidence is on the rise in Canada as well, with optimism most robust in Alberta, according to survey data from Investors Group and Harris Decima that was reported by The Canadian Press.