When disaster happens and you need to make a rental property insurance claim, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to come up with a list of all your (now destroyed or lost) belongings and their value.
Instead, you can prepare now by creating a detailed inventory of your valuables—and have at least a little peace of mind when the unexpected occurs. The following are some steps you can take:
Use a spreadsheet
Start by creating a spreadsheet—or even use an inventory app that allows you to list and price items. You may need multiple columns for price, so account for that. You’ll probably want to find out the “actual value” of each item (how much you could sell it for secondhand) and the replacement value (how much it would cost to purchase the item new).
Decide on a minimum value for items you list
Before you start counting, decide on a minimum value for items that you think would be worth claiming. You don’t want to clutter your list with cheap and easily replaceable items, as it will make management more difficult down the line.
Be specific and keep secondary proof
Once you begin listing items, write down an estimate for both the actual and replacement value. Record all serial numbers. A brief description could be helpful as well; for example, instead of “KitchenAid mixer,” you could write down “KitchenAid Pro Line 7-qt stand mixer with pasta and meat grinder attachments.”
It might be wise to save receipts for especially expensive items, such as a new TV or gaming console. With jewelry and heirlooms, have your items appraised and keep a picture of the appraisal document. In fact, you may want to take photos of all highly valuable items, and keep these in the same folder with the spreadsheet.
You can even take a video of your apartment or rental property as is, with closeups of items in a quick walkthrough.
Keep a copy outside your home
Use a cloud service to save your document, send it to yourself via email, or keep a hard copy in a safe place away from your home—or all three. This will ensure that your important inventory document can’t be physically destroyed in the event of an accident.
Update your inventory regularly
Set a reminder on your phone or calendar so that every month, you make sure you’ve regularly added new purchases or heirlooms to your inventory and removed items that you no longer own. The more regularly that you do this, the less of a hassle each update will be. Updating your inventory once a month could take you as little as 15 minutes depending on what your purchases look like.
Accidents are never planned, but planning ahead—just in case—is key to being prepared for the unexpected.
Image via Pixabay.