The recent California wildfires have made us all more aware of the fragility and unpredictability of life: What we take for granted can be gone in an instant.
While that’s a philosophical point to ponder, the thought also has practical applications, particularly when it comes to protecting your assets. Documenting your belongings for insurance purposes is crucial to recouping your losses, should your home be destroyed in a devastating event.
If you’ve haven’t assessed your belongings, the time is now. If you have, it may be time to update. Remember: the value of your belongings changes over time.
When dealing with these issues, Real Estate Insider offers these tips:
Learn what your policy requires: “First and foremost, make sure you are clear up front about your insurance carrier’s expectations for documentation.” You can’t comply if you don’t know the rules.
Take pictures or videos: Be sure to capture the contents of closets, drawers and cabinets in addition to larger areas. Snap photos on your smartphone, or take videos that sweep the room.
Save those images to the cloud: Your computer may be destroyed in the same event that takes your home. With the images stored to the cloud, you’ll retain access to them.
Make a spreadsheet: Detail your belongings here and commit to updating the list routinely. Again, store this in the cloud.
Such action is critical. Real Estate Insider notes that Californians driven from their homes after the 2017 Santa Rosa fires often were unable to receive the full value of their policies. “In fact, depending on the insurance carrier, the compensation could be less than half of the stated value on the policy,” without proper documentation.