January 9, 2018
Let’s hope none of us EVER needs to present a home inventory to our insurance company after a fire or some unexpected natural disaster. It’s one of those low priority tasks we tend to put off, but can save you so much time (and headache!) if you ever have to file a claim.
It’s so easy now to make a record of possessions with photos and videos on your smart phone; the trick is actually doing it, and then updating your records with new purchases!
Allstate Insurance Claims Specialist Alex Burton of the Danielle Shannon Insurance Agency in Aurora says, “The value of having a home inventory is documentation. You don’t realize how much stuff you have or how much it will cost to replace.”
To start collecting that critical batch of information for filing an insurance claim and deduct as losses on your income tax return, there are low and high-tech approaches. If you start with a printed checklist there are a slew of online options available to get you started. And the Insurance Information Institute has handy tips about where to begin (in a small contained area or with recent purchases) and how to categorize the information on your lists.
Alex says the highest costs can come from replacing what’s inside your closet. “You don’t buy your entire wardrobe in a single purchase or for all seasons,” she says. But when you have to replace a collection from several years’ worth of acquisitions, the numbers add up.
“Especially important to document are big ticket items such as major electronics, computer equipment and musical instruments. Anything worth more than $2,000 should be detailed in the event of a catastrophe — so you can replace all of your more expensive possessions.”
Home Inventory Apps
To automate your efforts, Allstate Insurance has free inventory software that anyone can download from Digital Locker, and you don’t have to be a customer!
Encircle: Home Inventory has an app available for iOS and android devices with useful features some of the others don’t have. For example, you can pick a room in your home, take pictures and then add information for the items. There’s a place for model and/or serial numbers and Encircle will even find and add support/customer service info plus parts and accessory details for easy access. You can sync all the data with an online app and never have to worry about backing up your files or losing your info.
On the iOS side, choices include Nest Egg-Inventory which uses a barcode scanning feature to retrieve information about items and does online price checks with retailers. You can organize your information by category, subcategory, location or room, email your inventory and even export CSV data for spreadsheets. The app is available in 13 languages and offers an in-app purchase (99 cents) for Dropbox support to back-up data.
More Search Options
Another android app is Magic Home Inventory which is free and a real bargain with its custom camera for photographing your items. You can sort your possessions by 15 categories, and there’s an advanced search feature and a sunburst chart that will give you a visual overview of all items you’ve inventoried. This app has received great reviews, so get it now while it’s still free! It requires Android 2.3.3 or later and you can download it from Google play.
Catastrophes and disasters aren’t the only reasons to create a home inventory. There is in fact one more. “A list with everything you own can be helpful when you pack and move,” says Lisa James, Director of Residential Sales, at Mesa Moving and Storage in Aurora.
“Not only does it help you keep track of your stuff,” Lisa says, “it makes unpacking easier if you know what you have and where it goes!”
New Homes in Southshore
The stunning new homes that make up the lakeside community of Southshore are part of an inventory crafted by three of the region’s top builders: Toll Brothers, Century Communities and Richmond American Homes. Drop by and tour the beautiful models (call ahead for an appointment with Toll Brothers) and check out how close neighborhood amenities are! Ranch and two-story models in this master-planned community range from the upper $300s to the $700s.