The best rule of thumb for updating your home insurance inventory of valuables:
- Update your inventory after every major purchase
- Update your inventory once a year, even if you hadn’t made a major purchase in the prior year
Here’s something to consider regarding your annual inventory: You don't always need to list every single item individually. Your Blu-Ray collection, for instance, is comprised of lots of small purchases that might take way too long to list. In cases such as these, you'll want to document the whole collection as a single item, your case made with photos and video.
Obviously, you want to keep the receipt for that new HDTV you own. And you want to call your home insurance agent as soon as you buy that new sofa. But some other home collections are more valuable as a whole than in parts.
Your phone's camera really is your best friend when updating your inventory. No matter how good you are at keeping records of every single purchase, some things are going to slip through the cracks. When they do, you'll be glad you have pictures of them to use as evidence.
For your annual inventory update, you'll want to send your insurance agent a video tour of the home. Take pictures of individual items. Get a closeup of your shoe collection or vinyl records. But make sure that your video tour is comprehensive. Get every room, zoom in on the important stuff, and don't forget the basement, closets, garage, attic and storage shed.
We tend to lose track of many of the purchases we've made over the course of a year. We pick up a couple new books here, a nice leather jacket there, and it doesn't seem like much until we add it all up.
This is why the video tour is so important: You're going to forget a lot of the purchases you've made in the last 365 (or 366) days. After all, you look at the items every day and it doesn't even register. So, you'll be happy to have that video document as a reminder should you lose any of those items to a fire or burglary.
And one last tip: Don't forget to make copies of your inventory for yourself. Keep print and digital versions of your list and receipts and make sure that you have something to refer to when making your home insurance claim.
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