The 7 Rules for Protecting your Valuables Before Disaster Strikes

Many homeowners rarely stop to think about their homeowners insurance.  Typically after purchasing a home, a homeowner selects the most convenient and cheapest insurance option and doesn’t review it until after a disaster occurs.  This causes a huge lack of awareness for the homeowner and often their belongings are not adequately protected. By completing a home inventory before it’s too late, homeowners can review exactly how much their possessions are worth, making it easier on both the insured and the insurers.  These few tips will help you properly inventory your home and protect your property in the long run.

1. Do something, and do it now.

When a disaster strikes, there is little time to evaluate what and where your valuables are.  A home inventory helps remind you where your most prized possessions are and what they are worth.  Don’t procrastinate this chore because it will save you hassle in the future.

2. Pay special attention to antiques and collections.

These objects hold a lot of sentimental and monetary value, but are often inadequately protected.  Educate yourself on what riders and appraisals are needed to insure your antiques and collections.  It will help to get your items appraised by experts to help insurers compensate your losses fairly.

3. It all adds up.

After inventorying your most valuable possessions, take a look at your belongings piece-by-piece.  Homeowners wardrobes are often overlooked, but the sum value of it can actually be rather large.  Start by counting the number of pieces you own and multiply that number by an average purchase price per item.  You should inventory both big things and little things and you might be surprised by the total value.

4. Record the serial number of electronics.

Homeowners often only think of natural disasters when it comes to protecting their home, but burglary is also a huge threat to your possessions.  One in every 36 American homes will be burglarized this year and electronics are some of the most common targets.  If you know the serial number of your electronics like, computers, televisions, and tablets, it makes it easier for police to recover the stolen items.

5. Don’t forget your garage.

Homeowners can forget to document the items in their garages, but they often are the most valuable room per square foot in a house.  It is easy to forget this area, but expensive items like power tools, outdoor furniture and antiques are just as important to inventory as the rest of your home.

6. Store your inventory files outside your home.

Digital files are a convenient option when storing your inventory information.  Storing your inventory information digitally is safer than keeping them in a file cabinet within your home.  Even so, digital home inventories are still vulnerable to loss and information stored on a flash drive or computer can easily be destroyed during a natural disaster.  Consider keeping your files in a security deposit box or another safe offsite place.

7. Consider a third-party service

Third-party services like Together We Stand (TWS) Home Inventory make the hassle of inventorying more efficient and convenient to consumers.  With high rates of homeowners insurance fraud, a third-party also benefits the insurer.  The Insurance Information Institute (III) found that questionable claims of homeowners insurance fraud increased nearly 45%  between 2011 and 2013, which harms all involved.  By hiring a third-party service, the insurer is provided with more and better information about the property in question.

Information from Carrie Mitchell at PropertyCasualty360