Home Inventory — Don’t Leave Home Without It!

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No one is exempt from learning their lessons the hard way, including me. Last November I downsized from a 2,400 sq. ft. house to a 1,050 sq. ft. apartment. Everything seemed to go well — until I realized I had been robbed. While the movers were moving bedroom furniture out, I went into the master bathroom. I had put down a small black coin purse that had belonged to my stepfather. When I came out of the bathroom I forgot to pick it up again. I did not remember it until after everything had been moved into the apartment and the movers had gone. I returned immediately to the house to look for the coin purse. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. The next day I called the moving company to let them know what had happened. For days I looked through boxes, clothes, drawers, everything that might have contained the coin purse, but I never found it. I was devastated because inside the coin purse were three gold coins dating back to the post-Civil War era which had belonged to my stepfather. They had a total estimated value of $3,000.

The police were unable to track the coins down because I had no documentation or pictures proving that I had owned them. Nor was I able to collect insurance on the loss because, once again, I had no documentation. While the sting of the loss has gradually worn off, the frustration with myself for not documenting the coins still remains with me.

The importance of a home inventory cannot be stressed enough. In 2013 the Insurance Information Institute (III) wrote, “… 4.8 percent of insured homes had a claim … Property damage, including theft, accounted for 97.0 percent of those claims.” The good news is that, according to a June 2014 III survey, 48 percent of homeowners said they had a home inventory. The bad news is that 52 percent, including me, still do not.

If you still need to prepare a home inventory, here are three resources to help you. The III prepared an excellent guide, “How to Prepare a Home Inventory” to get you started. For the tech-savvy user, Forbes magazine lists “The Best Home Inventory Apps.” If you are a Mac user, you can also purchase “Home Inventory” by Binary Formations, LLC.

Like many of you, I am often short of time. However, I’ve learned my lesson. I will use the resources above and set time aside to create a home inventory. I will keep you posted on my progress in future newsletters.