Grab Your iPhone - It Might Actually Save You MoneySubmitted by S. F. Ehrlich Associates, Inc. on June 30th, 2017
June 30, 2017
I’ll assume that all of us spend the money each year to pay the premiums for homeowner’s insurance, whether you’re a renter or a homeowner. But should a calamity impact your home, such as a fire, have you thought about how you would file a claim? While you might have a policy for certain pieces of jewelry, or works of art, do you have a written description of all your furnishings? Other collectibles? Family heirlooms?
Start by taking a video of everything in your home, one room at a time. (Don’t forget to open drawers and cabinets.) Along with the video, offer a running commentary of what you’re taping, such as “Here’s the hutch that my grandfather built in the early 1900’s,” or any other language that might be useful when the insurance company values your property should a disaster occur.
Once you’ve gone throughout your home (and don’t forget the attic and the basement), you’re only done with Part I. While this valuable information is now stored on your iPhone, your iPhone can be hacked. Or stolen. Or left behind and destroyed in a house fire. In other words, one copy is better than not having any copies, but you need to back-up the inventory.
If your photos are stored on iCloud, or some other cloud service, you’ve completed Step 2. But just to be sure, send the videos to a relative, so someone can initiate the claims process should you not be available to do so.
As you walk through your home, if you have valuable possessions that haven’t been appraised in a while (i.e. artwork, jewelry, collectibles), make a note to do it/them again. If you ever suffer a horrific event such as a whole-house robbery, that’s not going to be the time when you’ll have the patience to argue about each of your valuables. (It’s sort of like deciding it’s time to diversify AFTER the stock market crashes. (“Can I buy some of those bonds now?”)
Your exposure doesn’t end with your physical property. You may also be susceptible to other risks that you may not be aware even exist. An article in NAPFA Advisor by Patrick Ritter1 points out other questions to ponder when determining whether you have sufficient insurance:
- Do you serve on any not-for-profit boards?” (They, and you, can be sued based upon actions you took or failed to take.)
- Do you or your family members travel regularly (business or pleasure)?
- Do you have residential staff who service you or your property?
- Do you have children, particularly children who are at or near driving age?
- Do you entertain guests at your home (parties, charitable events, family gatherings, etc.)?
- Have you had a security profile/analysis completed on your home and in-home networks?
When you’re done, call your property and casualty agent. You might need some more coverage, and that’s something that’s better to learn sooner than later.
1 Ritter, Patrick. “Home Inventory and Insurance Review: An Opportunity to Add Value for Clients.” NAPFA Advisor, May 2017.