Home inventories: Protecting you and your valuables
Sterne Akin has been working as an insurance agents for more than ten years, in that time he's always cautioned people to document their property in case of loss.
Akin said, "By preparing for a loss it allows them to try and be able to continue with life but also pick up the pieces through that claim experience that they are going through."
As of 2012 according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, only about 59% of people have an inventory, but of those many of them are not up to date.
"I do encourage a large item, if they get a nice new TV or a nice piece of jewelry, it would be in their best interest to document right away. In terms of normal accumulation that we gather in our homes that would be something yearly or every few years at least," said Akin.
Josh Monroy works as an insurance agent as well, but since he's moved into his apartment, he has not inventoried his items.
It wasn't until he started working with State Farm that he found out how important documenting your property really was.
"It's not something that most people think about but when the time comes and you want to get that benefit out of your insurance policy and file a claim, that's when you realize, hey this could have made my life so much easier if I would have taken these few easy steps to get these things in line," Monroy said.
Monroy used his iPad to record throughout his home but there are other ways that are just as useful, like an old fashioned pen to paper inventory, with the items description, value, and serial number.
These types of inventory lists can come in handy to make sure you get back the full value of the item lost or damaged, with insurance going off the replacement value rather than the selling value.
Akin said, "You bought a 42 inch TV and it costs $1000, but to go out and buy that brand new five years from now, lets say it costs $2000, you're going to get the $2000 on that."
Televisons, couches, and electronics are all things that add up in value, with many of us not knowing the true value of the things in our home, and that's where these inventory lists come into play.
"What I try to do with my insurers, I try to put them in situations in how would they want to be treated at the time of loss. And by doing inventory of their personal property, it gives them a chance to understand the magnitude of what they have to lose if they did have a fire or a theft," said Akin.
Finally, Monroy says it's important for people to understand that this is something they should be doing, because as the old saying goes, bad things happen to good people.
"Everybody owns things, and everybody has a home, and everybody has a car, and these are all things that should be protected," said Monroy.
Regardless of what system you use to document your items, you're going to want to make sure the list is in a secure place and the items can be shown on a traceable timeline with time stamps.
Videos are recommended to be sent to the cloud or an email for safe keeping.