We believe so strongly in the value of a home inventory, that we will even consult with you on how to do it yourself if you don't wish to engage a third party. However, it has been our experience that homeowners fail to start, or much-less complete, the inventory when they do it themselves. The process can be daunting, and there is a likelihood that objects and belongings will be missed or omitted.
For that reason, I wanted to offer you some tips on items to capture that you probably wouldn't even think to catalog if you were to perform your own home inventory.
1. First edition and autographed books: Writing down the title or taking a picture of the cover will only get you a replacement for a newer version and non-autographed copy. It is important to take a picture of the autograph and if a first edition, the copyright page.
2. Under the sinks: Those cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, paper towels and even the garbage can have value. Take pictures of the objects in every cabinet, including the ones under the kitchen sink and bathroom vanities.
3. The pantry: This one is almost always missed by homeowners in a self performed inventory. Food must be replaced after a fire, even if it is not physically damaged. You may have higher value, all organic spices or special cuisine that carries a higher value. You will need to prove that the food you claim is special so that you are not offered a lesser replacement value.
4. Under the bed: Don't forget to photograph those items you store under the bed.
5. Drawers: Perhaps the one place in the home that most confounds homeowners in their self performed inventory is what exactly to document in the drawers. The answer is simple: absolutely everything. Open each drawer and take a high resolution picture. If you ever have to file a claim, you will want to show proof of every pen, pencil, gem clip and envelope you own. Again, they all require money to replace, and that is the purpose of your homeowners insurance.
6. Attic: We store items in the attic and often forget about them. Make sure they are documented in your inventory.
7. Garage: We keep tons of items in our garages and they all need to be accounted for in an inventory. Often overlooked is photographic evidence of valuables such as hand held tools, electric and gas powered tools, riding lawnmowers and that collection of nails, screws, washers, tacks and picture hangers that you likely have. Very importantly, take the time to photograph the antique or vintage tools in more detail. They are more expensive to replace.
8. Closets: Wardrobes are often missed in an inventory. It is very important that capture details on articles of clothing or accessories that carry above-average value. For example, designer clothing, shoes, belts, scarves and ties are all expensive to replace. If you can't prove you owned a Chanel suit or a pair of Loubitin shoes, you may not be able to get the full replacement value of those items.
9. The yard: You will need to document landscaping materials that carry special value. A great example if all of the plants and trees added after a curbside makeover. In the event of a fire, the fire fighting equipment will likely damage plantings, or in the case of a flood, the entire yard may be destroyed. Pictures will prove that you owned multiple Japanese Maples that carry a higher replacement value than a standard maple tree.
10. Storage: We all have containers of storage, from antique silver and wedding china to clothing and accessories. Make sure these are photographed. Out of sight is out of mind, and in a claim, you are less likely to recall the contents in storage.
We are always happy to help guide you if you prefer to do your own inventory. Just give us a call at (404) 835-7700 to discuss. If an unbiased, third-party, comprehensive inventory better suits your need, we would be honored to serve as your home inventory company of choice.