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Renters--Take Inventory! Steps to Take Before Renting

Nov 16 2015

Conducting a home inventory is a great way to get a sense of the overall value of your belongings and to determine which level of renters insurance you need. This short guide will cover how to conduct a home inventory and how to then decide how much coverage you will require.

Taking Inventory

The purpose of renters insurance is to ensure that you are able to recover financially in the event that damage occurs to the home or apartment you are renting, or to your belongings. A renters insurance policy typically covers incidents like fire, theft, and natural disasters. Creating a home inventory ensures that you know the value of your belongings ahead of time, and that your most valuable possessions are covered. This will save you time when filing a claim.

To start, make a home inventory checklistof your valuables by taking note of the valuables in each room of your home. As in this example, you should note the most valuable items you own in each room of your home. Take pictures or a video of each item, and if an item has a serial number note that down or snap a photo of it. Take stock of things like electronics, such as your home computer and television, expensive furniture, antiques and heirlooms, art pieces, jewelry, and fragile objects that could easily be damaged in a fire or earthquake.

Alternatively, there are some excellent free online services for making home inventories, such as Know Your Stuff. Using an online program ensures that your records can be accessed anywhere, cannot be stolen or destroyed in a disaster. As with a written inventory, it’s a good idea to upload photos, serial numbers, estimated value, and other important information to be stored online.

Choosing a Renters Insurance Policy

Once you have a general idea of the value of your belongings, you may need to adjust your renters insurance policy coverage. Each policy has a different limit on how much personal property it will cover, and may exclude certain items. For example, collectibles, antiques, and jewelry often have limited or no coverage under traditional plans.

With a clear, well documented home inventory, you can more easily choose a policy that offers the coverage you need to ensure a full recovery. Check with your insurance agent to find the best option for you.

Creating a home inventory takes time, but it is an easy and inexpensive way to establish peace of mind that you will be able to recover your losses in the case of an event. Speaking with an agent about your needs is the best way to select the best policy for you and your family.

Grange Insurance Association has been guiding families in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming through insurance decisions since 1894. You can find a GIA agent near you or find out more about our lines of coverage at our site.

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