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Home Inventory: Important Tips For Making One

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Home Inventory: Important Tips For Making One

Every home needs a home inventory updated at least once a year. Homeowners who live in hurricane stricken areas like Florida, coastal regions of Alabama or Louisiana and Texas are used to putting together a home inventory on a regular basis, but for those homeowners who live in the Midwest or in regions of the country without hurricane season abounding, they may think there is no need for a home inventory. This just is not the case!

No matter what part of the country you live in, a home inventory is a must have because fire, flood, and wind or tornado damage as well as theft or lost property can happen to anyone at any time. Not having your home inventoried can make the process of dealing with insurance agents an absolute nightmare, especially if you are trying to visualize from memory everything that was lost, damaged or stolen in your home while speaking to an insurance agent on the phone. The best bet for making sure your household goods are replaced to the fullest extent, is to keep some type of home inventory to help better replace these items.

There are several different ways to inventory the belongings in a home. Of course one of the easiest ways to inventory items is to get a notebook and pen and walk from room to room writing down anything that would or should be replaced in case of damage or loss. Inventorying items this way can be time consuming, but allows for everything in the room to be examined and approximate values to be determined, which should be included on an inventory list. The next step up from pen and paper would be to write the home inventory on a Microsoft excel spreadsheet or simply in a Microsoft Word file.

If the means are available for more hi-tech versions of inventorying home items, this is probably the best option. Simply turn the date and time stamp on the 35mm or digital camera and go from room to room taking pictures of each room, labeling the pictures with item information once the pictures have been developed.

Many homeowners also use video cameras to go around the house recording what each room looks like at a certain time and date. This is a great way to get a live action shot of what the material items look like at present and can easily be h anded over to an insurance company.

A few tips to keep in mind when creating an inventory is to always keep receipts for major purchases and store these with the home inventory. The more you can estimate for the Homeowners insurance company the price and date an item was paid for, the more likely a price near that cost will be given back for repayment. If possible, it is also best to write down where the item was purchased at, the model number and a manufacturer’s name.

As well, it is important to always note the date and time on the inventory, and this is why using a still or video camera is a great idea. Although the Homeowners insurance company is supposed to be on the side of the insured, they will be estimating costs at a minimum to save themselves money. So be smart about a home inventory, so that items will be replaced at full cost and in a timely manner.

Remember that it is not necessary to inventory items that would not be missed if they are lost or damaged, such as a paperback novel or a $10 pair of flip-flops, but if you are a book collector who has an extensive collection of antique books or a shoe collector who has hundreds of dollars worth of shoes, be sure to inventory these items.

Of course large items like furniture, artwork, appliances, electronics, large sports equipment, and large outdoor equipment should absolutely be inventoried. It is probably wise to also inventory or at least photograph clothes, home interior accessories, tool sets, kitchenware, and even workout equipment, but the major rule of thumb is to know the value of your own personal property to determine if it is worth adding to a home inventory list.

After the home inventory is created it should be placed somewhere other than the home. This could be stored at a family member or neighbor’s home, although the safest place for a home inventory list is in a safety deposit box or a fire and flood proof security box.

Home Insurance Quotes

With all the rising costs in the world consumers are looking for ways to cut costs and save money. Americans spend billions of dollars every year on their home insurance policies. It does not take a genius to figure out that every homeowner needs insurance, most people consider their home to be their greatest asset.

Thous ands of homeowners are reaping the rewards that comes from filling out a FREE home insurance quote. Many are receiving 25-30% discounts on their policies while becoming more educated about the home insurance that is right for them. Here are a few tips that might help you when you are shopping for that “Perfect” insurance policy.

Increase Your Deductible

Just like auto insurance, policies have deductibles, and the same rule of thumb applies–carry the highest deductible you can afford. The higher your deductible, the more premium credit you can expect to receive from your insurance company. Your savings could reach 25% by increasing the deductible from $100 to $1000.

Improve Your Home Security

Most insurance companies offer discounts for smoke detectors, burglar alarms, dead bolts, fire extinguishers, and Neighborhood Watch Areas. Homes with a fire and burglar alarm system hooked up to a third-party monitoring company receive higher discounts than homes with local bell alarms.

Consolidate Policies

Insuring two or more vehicles with the same insurance company can save you 10 – 15% on your premiums. If you cover your homeowners insurance and auto insurance together, you can reduce your premiums by another 10 – 15%.

Construction Type

Before buying a home, consider its construction type, such as frame or concrete block and steel (CBS). A wood frame house typically costs more to insure than one built mostly of concrete.

Verify Distance To Fire Stations And Windstorm Areas

If you live in the country, you’ll probably pay higher rates for your insurance than if you lived in town. Why? It’s because of the longer distance to your local fire station. If you live more than 5 miles from the nearest fire station, and more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant, you will most likely pay a higher premium.

Before purchasing your home, you may want to get a quote for both and flood insurance. Insurance companies may not offer you windstorm or flood coverage, depending upon the area in which you live. If your home is in a hurricane prone area and your insurance company offers windstorm coverage, then installing approved hurricane shutters should result in a premium discount.

Claims Free Record And Renewal Discounts

If you have not had a claim under your policy during the past 3 – 5 consecutive years, you could receive up to a 15% discount, depending on the insurance company. Plus, most companies will discount your premium if your policy has been in force for 3 straight years.

Mortgage Free Discounts

Some insurance companies target who have paid off their mortgage and offer them premium discounts of up to 5%.

New And Renovated Home Discounts

A majority of insurance companies offer a discount for new homes, and you may qualify if your home was built in the last 10 – 15 years. Also, a recently renovated home costs less to insure, so find out when the last major electrical, heating and plumbing update was completed on the home.

Live-In House Keeper

Some insurers offer up to a 2% premium credit if you have a live-in employee as they feel it could reduce the likelihood of burglary.

Conclusion

After reviewing the foregoing savings tips, you may think that if you added up all your credits you could receive a 70 – 90% reduction in your premiums. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Certain safety or other measures you take may qualify you for being placed with the “preferred” company of a particular insurance group. This “preferred” company will be able to give you more premium credits than a st andard company is able to.

Florida Homeowners Insurance Coverage

2005 marked a record year for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, with weather reporters resorting to using the Greek Alphabet to come up with names for hurricanes and tropical storms headed towards the United States. Unfortunately a few of these hurricanes, including Dennis, Katrina and Wilma causes major destruction on both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico sides of Florida.

Because Florida is right in the midst of hurricane alley for nearly half the year, finding affordable Homeowners insurance coverage is nearly impossible for most homeowners and sustaining and repaying those Homeowners insurance policies is just as impossible for the actual insurance companies.

For quite some time, in the 1980s and 1990s, many Florida residences were covered by the state run insurance company, called the Residential Joint Underwriting Association. Only recently have large private Homeowners insurance companies, like Allstate, begun taking on homeowners insurance policies in sections of Florida, along the coastlines and in the southern part of the state, where hurricanes are more likely to occur.

Whether going through the state run RJU association or going through a private home insurance agency, there is no question that Homeowners insurance will be extremely expensive anywhere near the coast in Florida. The same home in Ohio may cost three times less to insure than it would on the coast of Florida, simply because of all the added coverage for hurricane season.

Since most basic insurance policies only cover certain natural disasters that could occur anywhere in the country, most often hurricane damage is not included in this policy. For that reason, Florida homeowners have to go about purchasing extra hurricane insurance to make sure their home will be covered in case hit by one of these ocean storms.

A law was recently passed in 2005 in Florida that requires plain language on insurance policies so that homeowners can easily underst and the terms of their policy without being confused by the heavy jargon. Before this, many Florida homeowners were left to fend for themselves or to apply for Federal or Florida aid because many did not realize that even hurricane insurance often does not include flood damage.

Of course this can be tricky to distinguish and this is where many homeowners found themselves at a loss. Even if the flooding is caused by a storm surge of rising water from the hurricane, this is not covered by the hurricane because it is not considered damage due to the high winds or rain of the storm, but is instead caused by the ocean waters rising.

If Florida homeowners are in an area that could be considered a storm surge area, usually even up to 25 feet from the ocean, then they need to consider also including flood insurance as a separate clause to their Homeowners insurance. Be sure to discuss with your insurance agent exactly what types of water damage are covered in the hurricane insurance policy and the flood policy to make sure you are covered from all angles when encountering a hurricane.

Currently legislation is in the works that will limit the amount of surcharges that Florida homeowners can be charged to help prevent price gouging because of the area that Floridians live in. If legislation is passed, this will help level out private and public insurance rates for Floridians, making it easier to acquire insurance from year to year even though they live in an extremely high risk area.

If you are a new resident of Florida and have moved to the state between the months of June and November, hurricane season, you may not be able to acquire hurricane insurance for the first season, as many insurance companies put a block on new hurricane insurance policies until after hurricane season is over.

This is to prevent those who may just acquire the insurance temporarily and then get rid of it after hurricane season is over. Before closing on the home, consider adding the current Homeowners policy into the contract on the home to ensure that you will be covered for the first season. If this is not possible, you may be able to find insurance to cover a hurricane but it could cost a pretty penny.