Hurricane Season Prep 2019, Part 4: Inventory

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A hurricane or flooding can cause massive personal property losses if your home is affected. Could you provide a list of everything damaged, destroyed, or missing if asked? This blog series from Olympus Insurance is dedicated to providing clear, actionable tips you can use to prepare yourself for storm season, and this week the topic is creating a comprehensive home inventory.

A Home Inventory is More Than Just a List

It’s easy to say “make a list of everything you own”, and you can even find a lengthy checklist of items that should be included in your home inventory on the Olympus Insurance website. The important thing isn’t just what you include on the list, however – it’s how you create the list, where you keep it, and the ways you can access it when needed. The checklist is a good starting point, though, and you can print out a copy to get you started.

Choose a Storage System

While a paper copy of your home inventory is step one, you can do so much more with a digital file. Choose an online storage system to use as a repository for information about your home and its contents, and ensure privacy settings are on so you aren’t advertising your belongings. You can use a secure folder in Google Drive, DropBox, or another cloud storage provider.

Start with Electronics

Anything of significant value should be documented in multiple ways, especially electronics that can depreciate quickly in value and be expensive to replace. Take pictures of the item from several angles, including an image of the serial number tag, and save them with the name of the item and the angle: “Sony-Blue-Ray-Player-front-view” for example. Then take a picture of the receipt, with the date of purchase and purchase price clearly noted, and save that image as well. If you don’t have the receipt, note the date of purchase and what you paid, and look for a comparable item online to capture an image with the current price.

Estimate Bulk Item Value

Your wardrobe can be difficult to put a value on. If you have forty t-shirts and twenty pairs of jeans; a dozen pairs of sneakers and ten different pairs of ballet flats; a collection of handbags and a wealth of scarves, it’s ok to figure out what your average purchase price is for each type of item and then multiply by the number of similar items you own. You should itemize more costly items, like a formal dress, a pricey designer bag, or a pair of high end heels. You can use a similar approach for kitchen items like glassware and dishware. You can also take photos of these items in groups and attach a replacement cost amount to the set as a whole.

List Home Appliances

Your appliances can be among the most vulnerable in case of a severe flood or hurricane, since they can’t be easily shifted out of harm’s way and are prone to corrosion. Get pictures of serial and model numbers, and of the condition of each appliance as well as its Energy Star rating, if available. Don’t forget your water heater, microwave, and stovetop.  

Endorsements and Other Policies

If you have additional coverage, such as the Spartan Enhanced Coverage Package, review your coverages and take more pictures to help list all items that could be specifically covered under the endorsement policy. Also include items covered by other policies, like your vehicles, watercraft, and trailers.

Keep your Inventory Updated and Available  

Get in the habit of adding an item to your home inventory immediately on purchase, and email yourself a link and login to your updated folder each time. If you need to access the inventory or send a copy to an insurance adjuster, you’ll be able to simply open your email from your phone or other device, and forward the information.

If you have to evacuate your home, knowing that you have fully documented its contents can give you peace of mind in the event of damage done by storm or losses from theft. Next week we’ll help you lay out your evacuation plan and make a checklist of everything you’ll need if you have to leave your home due to a severe weather event.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.

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