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Taking an inventory can help you determine the amount of coverage you need for personal property on your Homeowners policy. Most people who have a Homeowner’s policy, just accepted the standard set amount for personal property without really thinking about what they owned.  The pre set contents amount is usually 60% of the dwelling value.  For example, on a $300,000 home, there is $240,000 of unscheduled personal property  coverage. 

You furniture, appliances, clothing, sports or hobby equipment and electronic goods are all regarded as personal property.  Like many people, you may own much more than you realize.   Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your Homeowner policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance to replace property if stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss such as a fire or tornado.  An inventory also makes filing a claim easier.


What’s the best way to create your inventory? The easiest way to take an inventory is to use a video camera, recording and describing items as you talk through your house.  Or, you can use a regular camera and create a home inventory checklist.  Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory.

  1. Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items.
  2. Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
  3. Store you video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
  4. Update your personal property records when you purchase furnishings and valuables.

How much insurance do I need? Your independent agent can assist you in analyzing your insurance needs and help you decide how to most effectively protect you personal property.  Discuss full value coverage, which will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings.  A standard policy typically covers personal property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial.  Remember your Homeowners policy may cover valuable items such as jewelry, furs, art and antiques, only up to the set dollar amounts.  If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. 

For most people the set dollar amount of jewelry (generally $500 or $1000) would not cover the cost to replace an expensive watch or wedding ring.  If the cost of replacing the jewelry exceeds the set amount, then you need to schedule the jewelry item on your policy for a specific amount and pay an additional premium.  The insurance company will require an appraisal or copy of the receipt to add the scheduled jewelry.

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