Why You Need a Home Inventory

Why You Need a Home Inventory

As a homeowner, you make sure that you have insurance to cover your property from damage such as fire, environmental hazards, and flooding. However, while it’s relatively easy to determine the costs of repairing and rebuilding your home after such a devastating event, what happens when you have to replace all of your stuff inside?

According to a survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissions, only 41 percent of Americans have a detailed inventory of what’s inside their homes. This means that if the worst were to happen, you would likely get far less than what you need to reclaim your life pre-loss.

So, with that in mind, we want to go through the process of home inventory. It’s imperative that you have a detailed record of everything inside your property so that your claim will be sufficient enough to get it all back.

What is a Home Inventory?

Simply put, a home inventory is an itemized list of everything inside your house. Whether it’s furniture, clothing, jewelry, or electronics, all of it should be listed so that it can be included in your insurance claim.

When you consider the cost of replacing everything you own, it can be overwhelming to imagine that you might have to pay for most of it out of your own pocket. Having a detailed inventory list will ensure that you can get a reimbursement that will cover more than just the essentials.

Although a home inventory is ideal for any homeowner, you should pay careful attention to any big-ticket items that cost a lot. Jewelry, for example, should be insured separately. This is because most policies only cover about $500 to replace them, which can be substantially less than what you would pay.

Why is it Necessary?

There are two primary reasons that you want to get started on a home inventory as soon as possible.

First, you want to make sure that your policy reflects the actual value of everything inside your home. When determining a payout, it’s easy to estimate the cost of your property, as well as the expenses required to rebuild it. However, since your insurance agent doesn’t know what kind of stuff you have inside, they are going to draft a payout based on averages. In many cases, this number is far less than what you need.

Secondly, having a detailed inventory will make your claim much easier to file and process. So much time and effort is spent trying to figure out what has to be replaced, but if you have a list in place, you can streamline this process so that you can get paid faster.

Another benefit of doing a home inventory is that you can write off any losses that aren’t covered by insurance. For example, if you didn’t get your jewelry insured before it was lost, you can claim the difference on your taxes.

Unless you are independently wealthy, having a home inventory is going to make a substantial difference if and when you have to file a claim.

How to Do a Home Inventory

Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to you when you start your inventory. However, even just a pad of paper and a pen is preferable to having nothing written down. You can create your own list or use one of many different online tools to keep items organized.

To ensure that your inventory is always accessible, we highly recommend that you submit a copy to your insurance agent as soon as it’s finished (and every time it’s updated). It’s also a good idea to keep a copy on file in the cloud so that you can access it from any computer. This is helpful if you experience a total loss and any paperwork inside the home would be lost.

Home Inventory Tips

Taking inventory of your home is more than just listing everything on a sheet of paper (or an excel file). Since you could potentially list items that you don’t own, it’s imperative that you provide documented proof of ownership so that it can be counted in your claim.

Here are some things to remember when getting started.

Make a Video Recording

Pictures are also necessary, but they are easier to forge, which is why most insurance companies prefer a video recording instead. Make sure that there is a time stamp on the footage, and record yourself as well to prove that it was you making it. You don’t have to cover everything in a single shot, but try to get as much as you can in each take to make things easier for both you and the claims adjuster.

Group Items by Type

Although it can be helpful to list each product individually, it will take a lot more time to do. Also, most insurance policies will make an average number, so it’s not necessary to show every specific thing in your home.

For example, group clothing together by style and type. Shirts, pants, shoes, and accessories should all be clumped together. The only time you want to provide individual details is if the item in question is expensive or unique.

Update it Often

Every time you buy something from the store or receive a gift, you should take the time to update your inventory list. While you don’t have to resubmit it to your agent every time you do this, it’s helpful to provide him or her with an updated list every six months or every year.

Keep Receipts if Possible

While you probably don’t have receipts for a lot of the items you own right now, it can be helpful to keep them for future purchases. This is further documentation that can help you get a better settlement since you can put a dollar amount on each item.

Work With Your Agent

Once you have an inventory in place, then discuss what options you have with your agent. For example, if specific items (like jewelry or collectibles) have to be insured separately, you want to create a unique list for them and then develop a policy accordingly.

Bottom Line

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to take stock of your belongings. Having a home inventory in place will not only make things easier if and when something happens, but it will also provide you with peace of mind.

Even with a home inventory, it is important that you have the right coverage.  Doing an insurance review with your agent is an easy and great way to know your options and that your coverage fits what you need.  Tell us how we can help you…

How to Do Your Annual Insurance Review

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Doing an annual review of your policies could be as simple as sitting down with your agent and going over your policies. However, a little preparation can go a long way.  It’s always a good idea to do a review on your own time so that you can manage your coverage and come up with a list of questions to ask during your one-on-one with an agent.

Here is a step-by-step guide of what to do to review all of your insurance policies.

Step One: Organize Your Policies

Even if you have all of your insurance from a single provider, it’s necessary to compile each policy in a separate category. The critical items to pay attention to are:

  • Policy Number
  • Date Issued
  • Premium Payments
  • Who is Covered
  • Beneficiaries (if Applicable)
  • Policy Type

We recommend that you create a summary of each policy so that you can have it for easy reference.

Step Two: Read Through Your Policies

Although you will do an in-depth review with your agent, it’s best to get an understanding of what to expect so that your interaction is more streamlined. If your agent has to explain everything to you from scratch, the whole process will take a lot longer.

When reading through each policy, mark any areas where you have questions. Use colored sticky notes (instead of a highlighting pen) so that you can stay organized during your meeting.

Step Three: Make Copies

It never hurts to have extra copies of your policies. One should be on file, and another is what you’re going to take with you. Having a duplicate means that you can make notes and write on the margins without affecting anything.

Step Four: Arrange a Meeting With Your Agent

Once you have a summary sheet and a list of questions regarding your policies, then it’s time to make an appointment. To help you stay organized during the meeting, you should write all of your queries down in a list.


Let BJI Help

If you are a BJI customer, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies. It doesn’t take long and can help you have the peace of mind knowing that your coverage is sufficient, and it might even save you a little money.

If you are not a BJI customer, we can help you as well.  Because we are an independent agency, we can compare your current policies with the rates of multiple insurance companies so that you get the best rate for the coverage that you want.  Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies.


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Next:  Questions to Ask at an Insurance Review

Why You Need to Review Your Insurance Annually

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

For most of us, insurance is a necessary part of life. Whether it’s protecting our homes, our cars, or ourselves, having the right insurance can ensure that you aren’t put in a precarious position when something happens.

However, is your current insurance policy providing you with the best coverage? When was the last time you checked on it to see what is covered and what isn’t? According to experts, you should be conducting an insurance review every year, which most of us don’t do.

As such, today we’re going to be discussing the benefits of doing an insurance review, what it entails and what to pay attention to the most. Don’t wait until something happens to find out if you’re fully covered or not.

What is an Insurance Policy Review?

Simply put, this is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details outlined in your policy. It’s best to do this with all of your insurance so that you can catch any gaps in coverage and solve that issue immediately.

The goal of an insurance review is to make sure that the policy you have is the one that’s going to provide you with the best protection. For example, if you have a homeowner’s policy for your house that hasn’t been updated in ten years, you could have a significant gap in coverage.

Fortunately, your insurance agent(s) will be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your changing needs and see how you can adjust your policy to reflect any recent updates. This process is relatively quick and painless, and it can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.

Benefits of Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

Chances are that you haven’t thought about reviewing your policy since you started it. However, if there have been any significant changes in your life since then (i.e., marriage, divorce, family changes, income level, home improvements, etc.), it’s imperative that you look at your insurance to see if there is anything that needs to be updated.

Here are a few reasons why doing an annual insurance review is right for you and your family.

Fill in Gaps

This problem is most common with homeowner’s insurance since the market can appreciate in value over time. For example, if your house was worth $350K when you bought it and now it’s worth $500K, your policy needs to reflect that. If your payout is still based on the first figure, that’s a huge discrepancy that will come out of your pocket.

Combine Coverage

You may have signed up with several different insurance companies, which means that you have various agents looking over and securing your policies. However, it is usually beneficial to combine services with one insurance company so that you can either save money or get more comprehensive benefits. In addition, an independent agency such as Bob Johnson Insurance can let you compare the savings between multiple insurance companies instead of just one.

Reduce Rates

Although it’s more likely that your policy will have to be updated to reflect a higher payout (which may mean higher premiums), a review may enable you to save more money in the long term. Car insurance especially can be reduced if you’ve gone years without an accident or moving violation. Doing an annual review can help you make the most of your monthly payments.

Add Insurance

Do you know what you’re covered for right now? Does that account for everything that could happen? For example, does your policy cover everything from fire to floods? If not, then now is the time to add it. Even if you’re not sure what could happen to your property (or yourself) in the future, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Which Policies Should be Reviewed and Why?

When doing an annual insurance review, it’s best to look at any and all policies that you have. These can include life, homeowner’s, renter’s, and auto insurance, among others. It’s best to look at and take care of everything all at once so that no surprises are lurking in your coverage.

Even if you think that everything should be the same, it’s better to do a full review of all of your policies, just in case. You never know what other services you can qualify for that can improve your coverage and your monthly payments.

How Often You Should Review Your Policies

There is no “right” answer here, but there are some guidelines that you should follow to be safe. Based on expert recommendations, this is when you should review each kind of policy (beyond an annual checkup).

  • Health Insurance: if you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, or if you’re expecting to need more coverage, such as you’re planning on a pregnancy.
  • Life Insurance: marriage or divorce is a perfect time to review and update your policy. Also, income changes can affect your policy needs, so do a review if your salary varies significantly.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance: if you do any renovating or remodeling you should update your insurance to reflect that.
  • Auto Insurance: anytime you are involved in an accident you should do a review to see how it will affect your rates and your coverage.

Let BJI Help

If you are a BJI customer, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies. It doesn’t take long and can help you have the peace of mind knowing that your coverage is sufficient, and it might even save you a little money.

If you are not a BJI customer, we can help you as well.  Because we are an independent agency, we can compare your current policies with the rates of multiple insurance companies so that you get the best rate for the coverage that you want.  Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies.

Next:  How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

A Quick Insurance Review can Save Money for You

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Everyone should do an insurance review at least once per year.  It’s not complicated.  An insurance review is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details outlined in your policy.  The goal is to consider any changes you have made over the last year and make sure that your insurance coverage still the correct amount. You may also find some discounts or lower rates that you previously did not know were available.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ready to schedule your insurance review?  Call us at 865-922-3111 or click here to use our contact form.