Why You Need A Home Estate Inventory List

A home estate inventory list gives you peace of mind in case of catastrophe. But fire isn't the only reason to record your personal assets.

Your personal belongings cost a small fortune to accumulate and can disappear in a matter of minutes as the result of fire, theft, or other disaster. Sitting across the desk from your insurance agent during a stressful period is not the optimum time to try and remember what was in Susie's closet or your armoire.

A home estate inventory list gives you and your insurance agent peace of mind in case of catastrophe. The average person thinks of fire when considering a list of all personal possessions, but an inventory list protects you for more than just smoke and flame damage.

Theft - When someone breaks into your home, you feel violated, and the sharp burglar might not always take the most obvious item. Some thefts involve electronics, money and jewelry, the most common objects. But another might seek silver tucked away in the back of a cabinet, antique coins under old sweaters, or a firearm in the closet. Each robbery is different, and an accurate inventory not only verifies items to authorities, but also reminds you of what to look for as missing. And a detailed record of make, model and serial number clearly identifies found items as yours and aids police in making arrests.

Weather disaster - Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, and flash floods turn your world upside down and suddenly deprive you of your assets. In serious situations, owners are banned from returning to their homes until the danger has past. Looting becomes an issue. Whether you lose belongings via human or natural means, the loss is sudden and severe. A list eases your pain during such times.

Financial accountings - A current inventory of personal items could come in handy in cases of bank loan application, bankruptcy problems, or legal confrontation. This list also provides documentation for deductions you claim for disaster, theft and other losses at income tax time.

Death - Whether you, a member of your household, or a distant relation dies, a current list of possessions helps streamline probation of a will and settlement of an estate. An inventory coupled with a will, eases the burden of dividing assets amongst heirs, especially when relatives are not familiar with the estate.

Replacement - An accurate home inventory not only lists the value of property, but also records items like purchase price, date, warranty information, and model. This list helps you determine when appliances reach the point of replacement. It helps you monitor depreciated items claimed for income tax purposes. You can manage maintenance needs and warranty renewals as well.

Proof of insurable value - Regardless of the source of the loss, your insurance agent needs some assurance that he or she is reimbursing you correctly. And you need to feel comfortable that your insurance coverage is adequate. Not too much and not too little. A coffee table inherited from your aunt could be worth $1,000, but if it is soggy, burnt, or missing, your agent's analysis of your financial loss often sides in favor of the insurance company unless your pre-disaster list confirms otherwise. Without a list you risk receiving less than the actual value. With a list your agent can feel comfortable advising the proper amount of coverage for your situation. You may think your mother's diamond is covered on your basic policy when in fact you need a jewelry rider to reimburse its full value. A detailed accounting covers all parties involved and deters disputes.

Home inventory lists cover you in many ways. Suddenly you lose precious things, and learning you are not insured for their full value hurts as much as the loss itself. Take the time to make an inventory list of your possessions. Without such assurance, you'll learn after you cashed that insurance settlement check that you forgot your father's watch, your grandmother's crocheted bedspread or your extra CD player in the guest room closet. A proper list makes life in the future more secure for you and your loved ones.

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