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Taking inventory of your home just in case

(April 2013) – How much do you stand to lose if your home is damaged or burglarized? While the memories attached to the items in your home cannot be replaced, the actual contents of your household can be protected if you have homeowners insurance.

Creating and safely storing an inventory of your personal belongings can help you determine what was exactly damaged or stolen if such an event occurs. This will simplify the claim process and help ensure your settlement amount is appropriate.

A simple way to complete an inventory is to record the items of each room by category, noting the quantity, serial number, make and model, approximate date purchased and the purchase price. It's helpful to supplement the inventory with photos or a videotape of entire rooms or close-ups of individual items.

Once you have recorded all of your belongings, add up the value of the contents of each room. Then, store the completed inventory in a fireproof container or a place away from your home, such as a safe deposit box.

If your property sustains damage, take the following steps:

  • Report the claim to your insurance agent as soon as possible. Some insurers like American Family also have a 24-hour phone number policyholders can use to report their claims.
  • If the claim involves a theft, report the incident to your police department.
  • Prepare a list of the damaged or stolen articles. Include a brief description of each item, including its age, current value, make, model and serial number if you have it. Make a copy of the list for your adjuster.
  • Protect your property immediately against further damage or theft. For example, use plywood or tarps to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops.
  • If your home is uninhabitable, make sure your agent and adjuster know where you can be reached. If you change locations, provide them the new phone numbers.

Interested in learning more about taking inventory in your home? Try American Family's free home inventory app and start recording your belongings today.

About American Family Insurance:

American Family Mutual Insurance Company is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company.
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