Most people are not fully prepared to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster. If you have incurred damages to your belongings, then you will need to provide a contents list (aka “home inventory list”) as supporting evidence for your insurance claim and to your adjuster. A home inventory list will also help you resolve possible disputes that may arise regarding the existence of the item at the time of the storm and the actual value of the item at the time you filed a claim with your insurance company.
Getting started with your contents list may seem overwhelming especially when you have so many other concerns in the aftermath of a disaster. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources out there to guide you in this process, including these helpful tips:
- Begin your list by documenting each room separately. Write down each item under the categorical name of the room (i.e., Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, etc.). Items such as “clothing” or “shoes” can be grouped together following a more specific amount of quantity. Such as, “Clothing – 25 shirts and 15 pants.”
You can prepare your list with a pen and paper. However, there are many great excel templates and resources on the internet pre-prepared for your convenience. Our firm has compiled a helpful template for you to get started:
For Excel Template: Home Inventory List – Excel.xlsx
For PDF Template: Home Inventory List – PDF
- After you have taken the inventory of each room, group together general categories, such as “work tools,” “appliances,” or “furniture,” etc. (Note: If you are using an excel template, then re-grouping your items together will be easier to do and save you some time rather than if you are using a manual PDF template.).
- Create an archive of photos and videos of your damaged items. Also, collect any photographs or videos of the items prior to the storm so that the adjuster can ascertain what condition they were in prior to the hurricane incident. Please note, it is always better to use a smartphone device and to store the files electronically to avoid losing or damaging any original copies. These days, most claims adjusters prefer to receive supportive evidence, such as photographs and video files, electronically.
- Protect your home inventory list, photographs, videos, etc. safe by either storing copies electronically via a storage platform (i.e., Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs, etc.), storing them on an external hard drive, or making physical copies yourself. Do not give the claims adjuster any original copies of your home inventory list or supporting documents. Often these items are misplaced by the claims adjusters due to the overwhelming quantity of claims that they are expected to juggle contemporaneously.