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The average number of severe storms that occur annually in the Southeast has increased dramatically in the past fifty years. Before a storm hits, homeowners should consider cataloguing the property inside their homes to be sure they are prepared for damage that may occur. Reporting and handling an insurance claim is much easier if you’re prepared for a weather related event that exceeds your deductible.
For a home owner, storm damage can be devastating. When damage occurs, you don’t need any extra worries. Documenting your personal property and the value of various items before damage occurs can alleviate stress after a storm. The South Carolina Department of Insurance suggests making a home inventory when you prepare for the storm season. A thorough home inventory will make handling a claim on your homeowners insurance much easier to manage.
Make a list of all the possessions in your home. Group your possessions into logical categories. List items by type such as appliances, electronics, and furniture; or, make a list for each room in your house. Don’t forget to record holiday purchases. Your inventory should include everyday items (toys, CDs and clothing), as well as rare items, such as jewelry and fine art. Consider family heirlooms, collections and furniture. Attach copies of original sales receipts to your inventory. For items without receipts, consider obtaining an appraisal and attach appraisal documents to your inventory.
Store your inventory away from your premises when possible in the unlikely event your home suffers a total loss. You can always scan your documentation and save it as a file on your computer, but don’t forget to use off-site backup such as a removable disk or a “cloud” backup service. As a last resort, store your home inventory in a safe, easily accessible place such as a safety deposit box or a fireproof box.
Consider photographing or videotaping each item with a brief description. Include each item’s approximately age, purchase price and estimated current value. This helps your insurance adjuster price each specific item and expedite the process to replace your property. Remember to look inside containers, drawers, closets and areas of the house not frequently disturbed (attic, basement or garage). Review and update your inventory annually in order to add newly purchased items and remove items you no longer have.
Don’t be forced to scramble for loss documentation after a homeowners claim. Some simple preparation now can save you a lot of time and frustration after a major storm.