Creating a home inventory for insurance claims
Veda Dante, September 2016
Flood, fire or storm damage to your home can be devastating, posing a serious threat to interior furnishings, precious belongings and even the building’s structure. One of Australia’s leading building insurance restoration specialists, Arcbuild Insurance, has seen its fair share of catastrophic weather events – and the direct impact they have on homeowners and tenants. In fact, just in the last five years, Arcbuild has led the restoration of hundreds of homes and businesses all over New South Wales and Queensland, with many attributed to these naturally occurring weather events:
- East Coast low in 2016 - 637 homes repaired
- Canberra 2016 hail storm - 184 homes repaired
- Rockhampton 2015 Cyclone Marcia – 133 homes repaired
- Brisbane 2015 hail storm - 236 homes repaired
- Bundaberg 2013 flood - 162 homes repaired
- Wagga Wagga 2012 flood - 61 homes repaired
- Townsville 2012 tornado - 21 homes repaired
- Tamworth 2012 hail - 63 homes repaired
- Brisbane 2011 flood - 236 homes repaired
Record everything in your homeMeticulously go from room to room, noting everything big and small. Start with photos of the outside of your home, recording all angles and everything around it, including your garage, tools shed, bikes and kids swings. Once inside, take photos or even video in every room, opening all drawers and cupboards to reveal their contents. After recording all of your belongings, you can then go through the process of providing details about what they’re worth. To make it even easier when it comes to making an insurance claim, arrange your belongings in categories – clothes, linen, furniture – and recording the serial numbers on the back or bottom of appliances and electrical equipment. A computer spreadsheet program, like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheet, makes it easy to organise your home inventory. Yes, it might seem painstaking going through everything, but once you have collated all of this data, it is pretty easy to manage.
High-value sectionFor expensive items like jewellery, artwork, camera gear and technology, scan or photograph receipts or other forms of proof of value. As a general rule, the more you paid for something, the more documentation required by your insurance company to reimburse you for it.
Download an inventory appIf you have a smartphone or tablet, apps like Encircle and Sortly are picture-driven asset managers that enables you to upload photos of your home, providing visual proof for insurance purposes. There are quite a few available so have a good look to see what works for you.
Safe storage of your inventoryNow you need to store this information in a safe place where you can quickly access it when you need to file an insurance claim. Just storing it on your computer’s hard drive, or a hard copy in your filing cabinet, could prove costly if fire or flood destroys your only copy. A few god places to back-up your home's inventory include:
- A cloud storage account
- A fireproof safe or bank safe deposit box
- With a trusted friend or relative who doesn’t live with you
- On your email server, which you do my emailing yourself