Clean Up Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy for Spring

By Linda Rey

Are you as ready for winter to be over as I am? The first signs of spring send me into spring cleaning mode.

As you’re cleaning out your closets, take some time to think about everything that remains and how you can give a “tune-up” to your insurance portfolio. (While you’re at it, take a look at this video from Expert Real Estate Tips on how to organize your closets.)

How much “stuff” do you have, and can you put a price tag on your belongings? To keep your insurance portfolio up to date, it’s important to figure out the value of your belongings and somehow track all the contents of your house. While you may be insured for a certain amount on your homeowner’s policy, it’s not as if the insurance carrier will just write you a check up to that amount.

Every household is different. You may have a studio or a thirty-million-dollar house. Either way, you are responsible for knowing what your household is worth so you can get paid should you experience a partial or total loss of contents.

We suggest the following:

  • Take photos or video of each room. Keep the documentation somewhere safe, such as a safe-deposit box or a server, not on your home computer.
  • I recommend keeping all receipts for larger purchases, such as furniture, appliances, and especially renovation projects. If you are particularly organized, scan the receipts and save them to an online server. This will protect your records in case you need to retrieve them in the event of a catastrophe, such as a fire.

What should be included in your home inventory? Use the following checklist to keep track of your belongings.

Insurance documentation checklist:

  • Kitchen contents
  • Clothes/shoes
  • Rugs
  • Lamps
  • Electronics
  • Plants
  • Furniture
  • Artwork
  • Recreation equipment (bike, ski, golf)
  • Jewelry (see my previous post on jewelry and other valuables)

Have you seen the show “Hoarders”? I hope you’re not facing a spring cleaning job of that magnitude, but starting the process can feel overwhelming. If you can’t get organized, don’t know where to start, or don’t know how to purge, hire someone or ask a friend or family member for help.

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.

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