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Creating your home inventory in case disaster strikes

SALT LAKE CITY – KSL producer Keira Farrimond isn’t exactly a fan of disaster planning, but she’s taking inventory of her possessions from a statuette to a digital piano and from a television to shoes and more.

“Nobody wants to plan for a tragedy,” Farrimond said. “But, at the same time, you want to have that information in case something does happen.”

The Farrimonds have been hit by burglars before as they were moving out of their old home.

“We lost a bunch of electronics and we had no record of when we bought them, no serial numbers,” recalled Farrimond.

“It’s very rare that I bump into customers who have a records of what they own,” State Farm agent Bekka Carlson told KSL. “You buy things and then you get rid of things and you replace those items. And, keeping your receipts and documentation is something that can be cumbersome to do.”

Carlson says having a home inventory really speeds up the claims process. And, it can save you from losing hundreds to thousands of dollars on lost or damaged items you forget.

“Then, weeks and weeks later it comes back to you and it’s really hard to then say, ‘Hey, oh by the way, I had a necklace.’ Or, ‘Hey, I had that I need,’” explained Carlson. “We want as an insurance company to be able to indemnify you for your loss, to be able to help take care of you. But, we’re not mind readers either.”

Carlson says a great tool that can make creating a home inventory a fairly simple process is your smartphone. You can use it to take pictures of your items that you can upload to cloud storage. Or, narrate a video taken of your stuff as you go room-by-room.

“If you said, ‘I have this and this and this and I paid this for it,’ said Carlson, “and we see it in a video, we see it in a picture – then you’re getting reimbursement very quickly.”

There are also apps that help guide you through the inventory process. State Farm has its own HomeIndex inventory app. Other insurers also have similar apps.

Farrimond is using the free app, Encircle, to take several overview pics of every room. It then allows here to tag items in those photos and add details for each item. She’s used it to inventory everything. She says it’s made taking stock of her stuff pretty easy.

“It’s really simple to navigate,” Farrimond explained. “Pick a room, take some pictures of the room. You can sit there for five minutes and detail all the items and then you’re done.”

When it comes to consumer electronics or appliances, Carlson recommends taking down details like brand, model number and serial number. Having a description helps with any item,as do details like when and where you bought an item and how much you paid.

Carlson says receipts are really helpful, especially for big ticket items.

“You don’t even have to keep a hard copy of it,” she told KSL. “Take a picture of it.”

Whatever tool you use to create your home inventory, Carlson says be sure to include the stuff in your drawers, cabinets, closets, garage and anything you might have in offsite storage. Include the little things like toys, jeans, linen, dishes and shoes. They all add up.

Keep your inventory somewhere where it’s safe and able to be accessed when disaster does strike your home like a friend’s home or in a safety deposit box. Better yet, keep it in the cloud.

And update your home inventory at least once a year. A good habit is to add items and receipts as you buy them while details are fresh in your mind.

Insure U Printable Home Inventory Checklist

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