Learn from Disasters

03:06PM Aug 13, 2019
Disasters
“Create and maintain an inventory record for your home and business to help settle insurance claims faster, verify losses for tax returns and identify the correct coverage.”
( PHOTOS: Kasey Wallace, Charles Johnson, Barneveld Fire Department )

Settling insurance claims can be daunting. Do you remember all your tools, appliances and electronics? “While these are usually small dollar assets, their total value can be substantial,” explain Austin Duerfeldt and Robert Tigner, University of Nebraska educators and economists. “Create and maintain an inventory record for your home and business to help settle insurance claims faster, verify losses for tax returns and identify the correct coverage.”

Create an Inventory Worksheet

Include the item; manufacturer, model and/or serial number; and purchase date, location and price. You might find it helpful to create a list for each room or building. Keep proof of value by holding onto or scanning sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals. The list can be paper or digital.

Catalog All Important Items

You might want to set a $50 minimum value for the list. Start with a closet or small office. Add each item. For items such as clothing, list them by a general category and a total value.

Take a Few Photos or Videos

As you record your inventory, take pictures of individual assets or a video of a room. This provides an extra layer of protection, as you might catch something you missed, or at least have proof of ownership of a claimed asset.

List Any Items That Might Need Special Insurance Coverage

Identify big-ticket items such as jewelry, art, guns and collectibles. Put a star next to those items and discuss with your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Don’t Become Overwhelmed

Once you start an inventory list, try to keep going. Even if you have an incomplete list, it’s better than nothing at all.

Revisit and Update

As with most accounting and recordkeeping processes, this is a living, breathing document that changes all the time. Try to make it a habit to add significant new purchases to the list.