Take a home inventory now—and be ready if disaster strikes.  Homeowners insurance covers the cost (minus deductible) of repairing or replacing your home if it’s hit with a disaster. It also covers the cost to replace your possession in your home, which may have been ruined. The best way to make sure you’re properly compensated for these losses is to make a home inventory, which is a detailed list of everything in your home, with approximate values.

Home inventories aren’t just for wealthy people: Ordinary folks own lots of things that cost way more than they realize to replace. Think about the cost of a new bed—headboard, footboard, frame, mattress, mattress pad, pillows, sheets, blankets, bedspread. Now throw in the cost of a couple of TVs, your high tech devices, kitchen and laundry appliances, all the clothes in your closets and dressers, and you’re talking thousands of dollars. We haven’t even counted the rest of your furniture, lamps, vases, dishes, window coverings, what’s hanging on the walls, sports equipment, and power tools. After a disaster, you’ll need money for all these things to get up and running again.

Making a home inventory isn’t hard:  Take the old school approach and go around your house with pen and paper, noting everything in each room, its approximate replacement value, and take some pictures. Or go new school and make a video with your smartphone, as you walk around the house describing what you’re shooting and mentioning its replacement cost.

There’s also outside help: Some folks prefer working with one of the free or inexpensive software programs and apps available. You can also hire a home inventory company to do the job. This will cost you a few hundred dollars, but could save you thousands in losses. That’s because insurance companies usually won’t dispute claims when an experienced third party did the inventory.

Make two copies: Store one in a safe deposit box or other secure place and send the other to an attorney, family member or trusted friend in another part of the country.  Take a photo and save the receipt when you purchase new items. Update your inventory annually.

Insurance experts say a home inventory can cut claim processing time in half and makes sure you’re reporting all losses. It’s also a good way to check that you have enough insurance coverage. Read other mortgage tips from Wallick and Volk Mortgage Bankers here

Author's Bio: Doug  Perry is a Branch Manager & Senior Mortgage Consultantat at Wallick and Volk, located in Bellevue, Washington. Doug has has successfully helped thousands of families through the home financing process to obtain the best mortgages. His experience, dedication and commitment to the mortgage profession has not only made him one of the top loan originators within Wallick & Volk, but also in the United States. Doug is licensed in several states outside of Washington. He can be reached at doug.perry@wvmb.com or 425 453-6669. 

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