As a follow-up to my blog last Friday, on being prepared for the unexpected, I would like to give some pointers on the actual task of creating an accurate personal property inventory. A personal property inventory will help you to:

  • Determine if you have enough coverage to replace all of your possessions
  • File your insurance claim quickly, so you get paid as soon as possible
  • Get reimbursed for everything that you’re entitled to
  • Identify recovered property after a theft (serial & model number matching)

To complete your personal property inventory, you will need to create and/ or obtain the following:

  • A complete list of your belongings (including: item descriptions, serial numbers and original purchase price)
  • Receipts for all big-ticket items (electronics, appliances, jewelry, etc.)
  • Current appraisals for items of significant value (jewelry, collectibles, furs, etc.)
  • A video and/ or photos of your home, and everything that is in it

If you use the following 5 steps, this process can be a simple one:

Step 1: Make a List of Your Belongings

Pick a room in your house to start, and make a detailed list of every item inside. Be sure to include furniture, electronics; and, don’€™t forget to include smaller items like books, clothes and knick-knacks. Basically, if you own it, you need a record of it. Each entry on your inventory list should include:

  • A name and description of the item
  • Quantity owned
  • Date of purchase
  • Name of the store where the item was purchased
  • Original purchase price
  • Current estimated value of the item
  • Model and serial numbers (if relevant)

Step 2: Gather Your Receipts

If you ever have to file an insurance claim, your insurance company will expect you to provide them with proof of purchase price for all big-ticket items — which makes receipts an important part of your personal property inventory. Some examples of items that you will want receipts for:

  • TVs
  • DVD Players
  • Stereos
  • Computers & Printers
  • Digital Cameras
  • Furniture
  • Large Appliances
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Collectibles
  • Tools
  • Sports Equipment

Step 3: Get Appraisals

Some items, such as jewelry and antiques, may be difficult to price out. Consider gathering appraisals for these specialty items — not only so you will know their true value, but for proof in case of an insurance claim. Suggestions of items you should consider having appraised:

  • Fine Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • Rare Coins
  • Collectibles
  • Furs
  • Silver and Gold Pieces

Step 4: Visually Document Your Belongings

A list of your belongings is great, but having visual documentation is even better! Take pictures or videos of your most valuable possessions, as well as a few shots of each room to fully document what you have and where you have it placed.

Step 5: Protect Your Personal Property Inventory

Once you have completed steps 1 through 4, your personal property inventory is complete. It may have been a tedious task, but it was an important one. After all that work, remember: You must keep this list in a safe and secure place! It’s a good idea to keep a copy at home, one in your email archives, another in a safe deposit box (if you have one) or even give a one to a trusted family member or friend. Be sure to keep an updated copy with your insurance company at all times too.

Your personal property inventory needs to be updated from time to time – get in the habit of updating your inventory list once a year or after making a significant purchase! It might just pay off in an emergency situation!

— Miss Lisa “Insurance” Doughty PRANDI Property Management, Office Coordinator