If you are a Florida homeowner you probably have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers you in the event of losses caused by things such as fire, theft, or storm damage. If the worst happens, and you need to make a claim against your policy, you will need to provide your insurance company with a detailed list of items included in the claim and the value of each item. To ensure that you can provide that documentation, it is best to create a home inventory now, before the need to file a claim arises. The following tips will make creating your Florida home inventory as efficient and complete as possible.
- Know what needs to be included. For each item, include as much of the following information as possible:
- A description of the item, including the make and model (if applicable)
- The estimated value of the item.
- Purchase date
- Serial number
- Work on small sections. The idea of inventorying every item in your home may seem overwhelming when you look around your entire home. To make things more manageable, start with a small section. Kitchen cabinets, small closets, or your porch are all potential starting spots. Once you get a few small sections inventoried, you can move on to larger areas with confidence.
- Research the value of big-ticket items. Estimating the value of things such as everyday clothing, kitchen cookware, or recently purchased new furniture may be acceptable; however, things such as jewelry, artwork, and antiques may warrant some additional time spent determining value. If you do not have a recent appraisal, you may want to get one done to make sure you are fully compensated in the event of a loss. Moreover, you may need to list valuable items separately in your insurance policy to make sure they are fully insured.
- Include off-site items. If you have belongings stored in a storage unit or someone is borrowing something of value, be sure to include those items in your inventory. Check your policy to see if items kept offsite for recreational purposes (jet ski, kayaks, camping gear) is covered as well.
- Keep documents with your inventory. If you come across or have filed away, documents that support the existence and/or value of items, be sure to keep a copy of those documents with your inventory. This may include receipts, appraisals, or research you conducted to determine value.
- Make use of technology. In today’s tech world, there are a variety of ways you can use that technology to make creating your home inventory easier, such as:
- Photos. Cell phone cameras typically take exceptional pictures now. Take pictures as you create your inventory. Photograph entire rooms as well as individual objects that warranted extra documentation.
- Video. That same cell phone can likely be used to create a video of your entire home. As you create your video, describe what is in each room, the date of purchase, and the value of the items you are showing in the video.
- Apps. Today there is an app for just about everything – including creating a home inventory. Updating your inventory will be easier as well if you use an app such as Smart Inventory, Encircle, or Magic Home Inventory to create your home inventory.
- Safely store your inventory. Your home inventory is only helpful if you can access it when you need it. Given that your homeowner’s insurance covers losses to your home and its contents, keeping the only copy of your home inventory inside your home is counterintuitive. Keeping a copy in a safe deposit box and/or giving a copy to a family member, close friend, or attorney is a wise idea. If you create a digital inventory, be sure to back it up on a separate device and/or using cloud storage.
- Keep your inventory up to date. Creating an initial home inventory is important; however, updating that inventory is equally important. Reviewing it once a year as a matter of routine is a good rule of thumb; however, valuable purchases or sales should also trigger an immediate update.
Where Can I Get Help with My Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?
If you are a Florida homeowner who needs to file a homeowner’s insurance claim, or who has already filed a claim that was denied or delayed, an experienced insurance attorney can help. Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Florida homeowner’s insurance claim attorneys will explain your rights to you in more detail and discuss your legal options at no cost.