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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Build a Home Inventory of Your Household Items

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

A home inventory of your household items is a valuable tool you will use if your property ever needs disaster restoration. (Photo credit: FEMA).

How to Build a Home Inventory of Your Household Items

Why build an inventory of household items?

The reason to have a home inventory is simple.  Ask yourself this: if a water damage or a fire damage affected your home, could you make a list for your insurance company of all the lost items?  Do you know what all your household items are worth?

Most people cannot remember everything they have in their home.

Homeowners Insurance and Contents Insurance

When natural disasters such as floods, fires, or tornadoes happen, properties are affected and many household items are damaged.  To replace your household items, your home insurance company may ask for an inventory of your household contents. The household inventory will help in valuing your items and coming up with a replacement cost.

SERVPRO of North Irving will inventory all the items we find on your property.  When a fire damage happens, it is sometimes possible to identify a burnt item and report it to your insurance company.  Unfortunately, some items are burnt so badly that identification is impossible.

Without an inventory or proof of your items having existed, your claim may not be fulfilled to your satisfaction.

Before any disaster happens, having an accurate home inventory will help you know how much home content insurance you should purchase.  Do this for peace of mind. Should anything ever happen, you will be able to file a claim to replace all lost items.

Use Technology to Inventory your Household Items

A phone or video camera will make this process quick.  We recommend you use video to capture general documentation all your items.  Then, use photos to capture smaller and important details such as serial numbers and brands.

How to Inventory A Room Using Video

  1. Choose a room in your home.  Start on the left of the room and pan the camera up and down.  Slowly working your way clockwise until you’ve captured the entire room.  
  2. If you need to open drawers or closet doors to show more of your contents, go ahead and do that.
  3. Don’t forget items you may have somewhere else, like a storage unit.

Write Down Inventory Details and Backup Your Claim with Photos

Now it’s time to write down important information about the items you recorded.  For example:

  • If you recorded a TV, write down the name and model or serial number and take a picture of these details.  
  • If you recorded clothing, write down:
    • The quantity of each type of clothing e.g. dress shirts, t-shirts, shoes, pants, etcetera.
    • Clothing of high value should have its brand recorded.  If you want to prove bag was Prada, for example, take a close picture of the Prada tag.

Are Jewelry and Art Covered in my Home Insurance?

Items like jewelry and art may require you to increase your insurance.  This is done through personal property coverage or add endorsements or floaters to your homeowners insurance.  Check with your insurance company to make your valuables are covered. If you need extra insurance to cover high end items, your insurance will provide you with instructions.

Have Proof of Value

Keep sales receipts and appraisals in hand to provide your insurance company proof of purchase and value.  Add these documents to your emergency preparedness bag.

Backup your Files and Update your Inventory

  • Keep your recordings and receipts on a cloud-based system to make sure they’re never lost.  
  • For paperwork, look for free apps on Android and iOS to scan paperwork and convert it to a digital file.  Save it to secure online storage.
  • Never rely on printed documentation as your only source of proof.  What would you do if that paperwork got damaged in a disaster?
  • As you make more significant purchases, update your list.

Take your home inventory system seriously!  There are two unfortunate situations we see often.  One is a homeowner valuing an item much higher than their insurance is willing to accept.  The second situation is when a homeowner claims they had an item but they can’t prove it existed.  This almost always forces the insurance company to deny that part of their claim. This happens simply because the homeowner did not have adequate documentation of an items’ existence, authenticity, or appraisal.

Our Role in the Water and Fire Damage Restoration Process

We have worked with many homes and businesses affected by a water damage, fire damage, flooding, and tornadoes.  One of our first tasks is to create a home inventory of all items found on the property. We search every room until we have found every item we possibly can.

We divide items into two categories:

Salvageable Items are those that are intact and can be cleaned.  We pack those items and take them back to our cleaning facility. They are sanitized and brought back to its former condition.  While your home is reconstructed, we store them in our storage facility. When you are able to receive those items back, they are delivered at your convenience.

Fire clean up that we have successfully done include:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing - we get the fire smoke out of clothes
  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Anything attached to the home itself (structure clean up)

Unsalvageable Items are those that can be identified but have been destroyed permanently.  These items cannot be cleaned and we recommend be thrown away. Our technicians document these items and report to your insurance company.

What about items that can’t be identified?  This is where your home inventory plays a vital role in your claim.  

Only you can prove to your insurance carrier what items were in your home.

Trusted Leader in Water Damage Restoration and Fire Damage Restoration in Dallas Texas

SERVPRO of North Irving is a water damage restoration and fire and smoke damage restoration company in Dallas Texas.  We have performed work in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, McKinney, Grapevine, Waxahachie, Midlothian, Ennis, and other North Texas communities for over 30 years.  We are also a Texas Mold Remediation Contractor for Texas and offer free mold inspections.

Our crews are available dispatch for 24 hour emergencies every day of the year. We can be reached 24/7 at (972) 986-7677.  Call us any time!

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