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Take Inventory of Your Home

You may have heard this before, but here’s a tip that bears repeating – don’t wait until you have to make an insurance claim to make a detailed list of your household possessions. The added stress and anxiety of the moment will make it difficult to remember all the details and all your belongings. Instead, take a complete inventory of your home now – before you suffer any loss.

Follow these simple tips to get started.

Ask your insurance company if they have a home inventory list resource you can use. This might take the form of a brochure, online document or a mobile app. You can also visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website to download their inventory checklist.

Go through your house, room by room. This includes your garage, basement, attic and off-premises storage unit. Note: if you have to make a claim, you may not receive the full purchase price of your contents. Ask your home insurance company if your policy covers the replacement cost (the cost to replace the item at today’s market value), or the actual cash value (replacement cost minus the depreciation value).

Group similar items together and estimate the total value. For example, five sweaters at $80 each = $400, or 50 DVDs at $20 each = $1,000. Don’t worry about pricing each individual item for smaller items.

Take photos and videos of each room with valuable items prominently displayed. Label your photos with information about the date of purchase, make or model, where you bought the items, and any information that will help with reimbursement. Video is a great tool for a walk through. You can narrate as you go through your house describing your items.

Attach photocopies of receipts and current appraisals for valuable items like jewelry, collectibles and art. Record the manufacturer (brand), model and serial number, as well as the method of acquisition (i.e., purchased, inherited or received as a gift), date purchased or received, and actual cash value. Note: some items may appreciate or depreciate in value over time. It’s important to have appraisals done every few years.

Store your Home Inventory List together with supporting photographs, video and other important family documents like your will and testament, house title and deed, birth certificates, passports, credit card numbers and account numbers. We recommend storing digital copies in an online storage account or app, or on an external drive so you can access them quickly in an emergency. Store hard copies in a safety deposit box at a bank, or a secure storage box off-site.

Update your inventory annually to include new purchases or remove items you got rid of.

Source: Financial Services Commission of Ontario


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