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Taking Stock: Create Home Inventory

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says nearly half of all Americans do not have a home inventory of their possessions in case of theft or other loss. (wax115/morguefile)
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says nearly half of all Americans do not have a home inventory of their possessions in case of theft or other loss. (wax115/morguefile)
January 20, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. - With the new year, many folks are looking to reorganize their closets and live up to new year's resolutions. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, one of those should be taking an inventory of valuable belongings in case it's ever needed for an insurance claim.

A record complete with pictures, receipts and other information can be invaluable, said Farmers Insurance agent Barry Carson.

"During a tragedy - you know, a loss - sometimes we're not thinking straight, and we may forget about things that we have that were in our possession that were destroyed," he said. "And so, it'll help bring back ideas of those things as well."

The NAIC offers a free app that allows people to quickly capture images and descriptions of belongings, to help determine how much insurance is needed and assist in the event of a claim. Insurance agents recommend keeping careful records of jewelry and fine art, as well as family heirlooms. Copies of original sales receipts and appraisals also are helpful.

Carson said winter, when families are spending time indoors, is a good time to work on this project. When you create a record of your valuables, he suggested thinking carefully about where to store that information.

"You don't want it on your computer that may be in the house, because it may be gone, stolen or a total loss," he said. "So, you want to make sure it's backed up somewhere offsite. A lot of insurance companies will even upload the photos into the policy, to secure those in the cloud as well for their clients."

According to the NAIC, nearly half of all Americans do not have a home inventory, which Carson said puts them at risk for inadequate coverage if those valuables ever need to be replaced.

The NAIC's free app is available online at itunes.apple.com.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC