Insurance and Finance

New Year, New Home Inventory Evaluation

By Peter Simek 12.8.17

New Year’s is a time for looking back with gratitude on the year that has passed and looking forward with excitement to the good things to come. And while it may not be the time of year you want to think about the possibility of a catastrophe — like a tornado or a home burglary — it does offer an opportunity to ease your mind about the unknown future by taking stock of the personal property covered under your homeowners policy. That means updating your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance home inventory evaluation.

Mike Bagwell, agency manager for Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s Midland office, says it is good practice to update your home inventory evaluation about once a year. In the post-holiday days, when you’ve likely given and received gifts, it makes sense to take stock of the past year and what you may need to update.

Luckily, Bagwell says, these days, keeping careful records of what you would like covered in the event of a disaster is easier than you might think. Print your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Home Inventory Evaluation Checklist here to get started. 

Lights, Camera, Inventory

Just reach for the smartphone in your pocket and walk through each room of your house, taking a video of the contents. The video will help you remember all of your belongings in the event of a disaster.

“Unless you have a complete list of everything you’ve ever purchased, if you have that video recording of them, that can help remind you,” Bagwell says. “It will jog your memory, if nothing else. Because, [in the aftermath of] complete devastation, you’re not going to remember everything on that list.”

Don’t Underestimate 

As you walk through your home updating your home inventory, Bagwell says to be sure to keep a running estimate of the value of everything you own. “When there is large loss, the adjuster is going to require a list with items lost, along with approximate values,” Bagwell says.

“That’s when you get a blank look from the customer. Just because you have a $100,000 house and we provide 60 percent worth of coverage, it doesn’t mean that we provided $60,000 of content coverage. That is going to go off of that list.”  

He says you must have 60 percent of the structure coverage in personal property coverage to qualify for the replacement-cost endorsement; however, an Agent can endorse the policy anywhere from 40 to 100 percent of the home’s value.

Unfortunately, many policyholders underestimate the total value of their possessions. It is easy to underestimate the value of the little things — for example, the clothes in your closet. 

“To replace my underwear and sock drawer, it would cost me 600 bucks,” Bagwell says. “Underwear is not cheap. It costs around $6 to $10 for a pair of dress socks, and I probably have 15 pairs. When you start looking at everything, you have quite a lot of value in your closet.”

Know What’s Irreplaceable

In addition to making sure your personal property evaluation is thorough, Bagwell says, when updating your home inventory you should keep a simple rule in mind. If the item can be readily replaced by heading to a retail store, the cost of replacement will likely be covered under a homeowners policy.

However, if any of the items on your inventory are rare, one-of-a-kind, or more difficult to replace — items like artwork, jewelry, collections, or musical instruments — then purchasing an additional personal-articles floater policy may be necessary. Unlike homeowners policies, these cover the appraised value of rare items, and they will also cover items that are lost or that disappear without evidence of theft. 

Protect Your Documents

Storing your home inventory evaluation in a safe place is also important. Bagwell advises clients upload their videos to the cloud and store inventories in a bank safe-deposit box. He also tells clients to store copies of any appraisals and any receipts of significant, antique, or valuable items in the safe-deposit box, as well as cash, since only $200 cash is covered under your policy.  

In the end, keeping an accurate and up-to-date home inventory list is a prudent way to ensure that, in the unlikely event that you suffer a total loss of property, there will be evidence of what you lost, which can help you receive sufficient coverage. 

Now that you’ve got your home inventory up to date, make sure to go over any updates to your property with your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent. Schedule a 360 Review today to make sure you’re covered in the year to come.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. 

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance