How to Complete a Home Inventory – 3 Easy Steps

One little known tool that makes the claims process easier for home insurance is the use of a home inventory.

A home inventory is a list, group of photos, or video of all the contents in your home. When it comes to a total home loss, a home inventory can make a significant difference in the amount of your claim settlement.

Grab a camera or cell phone and follow these 3 easy steps to completing a complete home inventory…

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1.     Start with the Big Stuff

 

         First, go around your home and take pictures or video of all the large appliances and pieces of furniture in your home. Don’t forget the garage and outside. Make sure you take note of all model and serial numbers. If you have the receipts for these items handy, take pictures of those as well.

2.     Do a Complete Tour

         Go through each room one by one and take pictures or video of EVERYTHING. A few things that often get forgotten are bookshelves, inside drawers, inside cabinets, and closets. Don’t forget garages, attics, and outside. 

3.   Protect the Files

         After you gather all your pictures, you want to make sure those files are easily accessible in the event of a covered claim. Some ideas to keep those files safe are..

o   Upload to your email

o   Upload to cloud storage such as Google Drive

o   Upload to a thumb drive and store somewhere other than your home

 

o   Send to your agent to attach to your file

While a home inventory may take some time, it will make the claims process so much easier and will most likely result in a greater claims settlement.

 

If you have questions about completing a home inventory, please give us a call at 615-919-1009. We would be happy to help!

What Is Not Covered on My Homeowners Insurance? – 5 Optional Coverages You Need to Consider

Homeowners policies are all different, depending on your carrier. Most people assume that if they have a “standard” homeowners policy, they are covered for everything. That is simply not the case.

Many things that you think would be covered are actually optional coverages that your agent must add manually. If you have an inexperienced agent, when you go to file a claim, you could be on your own. You are effectively self-insured.

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Here are some optional coverages that you want to consider adding to your homeowners policy before you get caught holding the bill.

1. Sewer and Drain Coverage – One of the messiest disasters you could have happen in your home is to have a water backup caused by the sewer or drainage system. The damage is often in the thousands and coverage is not usually included in a standard homeowners policy. The Civil Engineering Research Foundation states that sewer backups are increasing at an alarming rate of 3 percent annually. A sewer and drain endorsement is inexpensive and can be added to your policy to protect you from these disasters. When the time comes, it is a worthwhile investment.

     2.  Limited Matching Coverage – Most people assume that if you have a covered claim, the repairs will make your home look exactly how it did before the damage was done. However, for many homeowners policies, this may not apply to roof shingles or vinyl/aluminum siding. When repairing a covered claim, the insurance company has no obligation to make sure the repaired portion of your home matches the rest. With a matching coverage endorsement, if your shingles or siding is out of production at the time of the repairs, the insurance company will also replace the undamaged portion to match. This protects the curb appeal and resale value of your home.

     3.  Building Ordinance Coverage – We know that if a covered loss should occur, your insurance company will rebuild your home to the way it was before the loss. But what if your home was not up to current building codes before the loss? You could be stuck paying the difference to bring your home up to code if you do not have a building ordinance endorsement. This additional coverage will usually give you an additional percentage of your Dwelling Coverage A in order to bring your home up to code. If you live in an older home, this coverage could save you a lot of money in the event of a claim.

     4.  Flood Insurance – Most people think that if you are not in a flood zone, you don’t need flood insurance. However, 20 percent of all flood insurance claims are in low to moderate risk areas where you are not required to buy flood insurance. Floods can be cause by many sources including storms, overflowing bodies of water, or over-saturated ground. Unless you live on top of a hill (and even then), flood insurance is worth looking into. It is usually inexpensive and give you significantly more protection against major weather events.

     5.   Earthquake Coverage – Standard homeowners policies will not cover damage from any sort of earthquake or earth movement. This also includes sinking, rising, shifting, expanding or contracting of earth. We personally had a claim denied due to “shifting earth” during an extreme drought in Nashville many years ago. It resulted in thousands out of pocket to fix foundation issues in our home. In Middle Tennessee, an earthquake endorsement is inexpensive and would protect you in the event any earth movement should occur.

While there are many more optional coverages, these are my top five to make sure you at least consider when you are shopping for a homeowners policy. While they might cost you a little more today, in the long run, these coverages could save you thousands and some major headaches.

If you have any questions about optional coverages, please feel free to give us a call or email us here. We look forward to helping you!

Disclaimer: Every homeowners policy is different. Please consult your specific homeowners policy for specific coverages, exclusions, and limitations.

 Resources: https://www.iii.org/article/protect-your-house-from-sewer-backups

                     https://www.valuepenguin.com/flood-insurance/how-flood-damage-defined

                     https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/7/140717-usgs-earthquake-maps-disaster-                       risk-science/