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Hurricanes and Home Inventory

It’s Already Hurricane Season.  Here is Why a Home Inventory Is So Important.

Home inventory exercise: Can you list everything you own from memory?

Didn’t think so and neither can I! Now mix in the stress of what it’s like after a hurricane… then it gets really tough. Doing a home inventory before the weather starts makes good sense. 

The fact is most people own more things than they realize. It’s easy to remember the cars, the computer, or that new awesome OLED TV on the kitchen wall. But what about that holiday china sitting in the garage?  Or every pair of shoes in the closet dating back to the Nixon administration?

All of it is regarded as personal property for insurance purposes. And if your home is destroyed by a hurricane, flood, fire or some other disaster, having a list of your possessions makes filing a claim easier — and helps you put your life back together.

Why should I complete a home inventory? What’s the best way?

Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance to replace them if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss. The easiest way to take an inventory is to use your phone and make a video, recording and describing items as you walk 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:

  • Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items. Serial numbers are helpful to note.
  • Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
  • Store your video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
  • Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.
  • Though the task may seem daunting, it’s important to try. An incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all.

How much insurance do I need?

Great question! At Goodlad & Swank we are happy assist in analyzing your home insurance and flood insurance needs and help you decide how to most effectively protect your personal property. You should consider 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. (For example, a 5-year-old TV sitting in the guest room is usually worth much less than what it would cost to purchase a new one.)

Finally, remember your homeowner’s policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, furs, art and antiques, but only up to set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may entertain purchasing scheduled personal property coverage. We’re happy to help with that, too!

The Insurance Information Institute has a FREE online tool that can help you create your inventory. Just visit for more details.

Here’s hoping you’ll never need the home inventory, but preparing for the worst can prevent a lot of hassle later! We have clients ranging from all over Naples, Bonita Springs, Labelle, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sarasota. We have offices in Naples, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. Give us a call and get yourself some help on the ins and outs of property coverage. Above all, stay safe during hurricane season!

Butch Swank

Agent, Goodlad and Swank Insurance

Goodlad & Swank

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