How to Estimate Household Goods for Insurance

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Whenever you buy home insurance, make sure you have adequate coverage for your personal possessions. Most homeowners obtain insurance covering between 50 and 75 percent of their household contents. Here are some tips on how to list your home's contents in a manner that would satisfy most insurance companies in the event that you needed to file a future claim.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper and Pen (or computer)
  • Camera
  • Movie camera
  • Receipts

Make a written list of all household items you wish to insure, one at a time, along with each item's estimated value. Be sure to record all valuable items both inside and outside of your home or apartment, that you want covered. Items not on the list will not be insured.

The best way to assess value and guarantee coverage is to gather together receipts, showing the date of purchase and the price you paid for each item. If an item happens to have a serial number, record that as well. You also should take photos of each item, to help show its value and condition.

Alternatively--or as additional proof of ownership--you can use a video camera to make a record of your posessions. As you go through each room of the house, talk about each item in the room. State its purchaseprice and where and when you obtained it. Include family members in the pictures to prove both ownership and approximate year of purchase.

Be sure to include your more valuable items, such as antiques, jewelry, collections, guns, or art works. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not specifically cover these items. If you want to ensure they are covered, ask your insurance agent to create special content riders indicating their value. Again, receipts will be required.

Place the itemized lists, photos, or movies in a safe and secure place outside of your home. An ideal place would be in a bank's safe deposit box, or a similar place where it is not apt to get lost or damaged. For obvious reasons, you should not keep it in your home.

Update the list frequently to include any new purchases. Be sure to take photos or videos of each new item, and to include a purchase receipt as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • An easy way to update your list with newly purchased items is to take the pictures immediately. Waiting until a more convenient time can mean that it gets forgotten.
  • If you leave an item off of your list, your homeowner’s insurance policy is not going to reimburse you for it. This is why it is essential to make sure that all new items find their way into pictures or videos and added to the list, along with the receipts.

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