Know What You Own
Keep a Household Inventory
Disaster can strike at any time. Without warning, you could lose the things that mean most to you...that's why it's important to protect you and your family's financial security by having a household inventory.
Imagine purchasing an entertainment center for your home and stocking it with every electronic gadget imaginable, only to have a burglar break into your home and steal it all. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1,121,416 homes were burglarized in 2014.1 Even if your home is never burglarized, homeowners are always at risk for other losses, such as a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 494,000 residential fires occurred in 2014.2
Regardless of the reason for your property loss, though, you will need to take certain actions. First, you will need to file a police report. Your next step is likely to file a claim with your insurance company. If you have a claim, you don’t want to have to recall what you own and when you bought it. Maintaining a home inventory will make the claims process easier and likely will increase the speed with which your claim is settled.
What to include in a household inventory
A complete inventory includes a list of all of your possessions – from big ticket items like furniture and electronics to the types of clothing you own. Keep the inventory documentation in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or in your bank’s safety deposit box.
The best way to document your possessions is to provide your insurance company with:
- A detailed written inventory including (if possible):
- The name, make, and model of each item
- Its original cost
- Date of purchase
- Serial or identification number
- A video or pictures of all possessions
Household inventories should be updated annually or when making a major purchase. High value items such as antiques, jewelry, and collectibles should be appraised and possibly specifically insured in your policy.
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1Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014 Crime in the United States, Table 23
2National Fire Protection Association, Research: Fires in the U.S.
Policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Preferred Insurance Company® and COUNTRY Casualty Insurance Company®, Bloomington, IL. Coverage not available in all states.