When you purchase your first home, one thing that's can be important to do is to take stock of all of your possessions and make sure you know everything that you own. Not only is it important to know what you have in the house in case something gets stolen, but it can be extremely important in case the worst case scenario happens, and your house burns down,or is hit by some natural disaster.
A good way to take stock and get to a point where you know where you are is to create a home inventory.
Switching Homeowner's Insurance
My wife and I switched homeowner's insurance in the past month because we realized that we were overpaying by hundreds of dollars for our coverage. The process of switching our policy from one company to another was pretty painless, and to be honest, was a lot less of a hassle than I had imagined it would be. If you're considering switching, like the commercial, I say “Just do it!”.
Our new coverage costs us less, but the coverage we have now is actually better – more things are covered, and at a higher level. All in all it was a win-win situation. There are a lot of things you can do to save on your homeowner's insurance, so be sure to do some research before you get quotes.
Home Inventory Time
One thing that hasn't changed is that we still haven't performed a home inventory. We've been in our new home now for just over a year, and we still haven't gotten around to it. A home inventory can be a valuable tool when you've had a natural disaster, a fire, or some other catastrophic occurrence. You can use it to prove to your insurance company just what things you lost in the disaster in order that you'll be reimbursed for them.
It should be noted that I did read some objections to the need for a home inventory on some forums, and they even suggest that if you do one, you shouldn't share it with your insurance company. They can turn it around and use it to reimburse you less than what you're expecting. In any case, consider yourself warned, but I still think it is a good idea to have one.
Do A Video Home Inventory
Today over at Free Money Finance they posted about a method that they used to perform their home inventory – a video inventory. Basically you just walk around the house room by room documenting your possessions in detail on the video. It shouldn't take very long to do one of these, and once the walkthrough of your house is complete you just store the video in a safe place.
Personally I think I'll store the video on my youtube.com account, and make it a private video. That way, if the house ever burns down – the video is safe on a server somewhere out on the internet. I'll probably also burn a copy on DVD and bring it to work and lock it in my drawer.
Free Home Inventory Software
Over at Five Cent Nickel today they also talked about doing a home inventory, but instead of doing a video inventory they posted a link to the Insurance Information Institute's free home inventory software for both Mac and PC that will allow you to go room by room, creating a home inventory. You can even add receipt scans and photos of your items.
I think in the next week or two I'll finally buckle down and create our own home inventory. First the video one, and then using the software from the III.
- Insurance Information Institute – Downloadable Home Inventory Software
- Five Cent Nickel Discussion of Creating a Home Inventory
- Free Money Finance Discussion of Home Inventory