If you find yourself with extra time at home during COVID, it may be the ideal time to prepare or update your home inventory list. For most of us the most valuable things we own are the contents of our homes. As a result, a thorough, up-to-date summary of your home’s contents and associated value is essential to help ensure adequate coverage of your belongings and, in the event of a loss, that you are properly compensated.
Naturally, keeping home records is not what most of us yearn to do in our spare time. Fortunately, the House Manual app lets you document and update proof of ownership records of your insurable items in seconds so they are always secure and safe for when you need them.
What is “proof of ownership” when you’re making an insurance claim?
According to economical.com “In the home insurance world, ‘proof of ownership’ is any document that provides details about an item that was lost or damaged, which now needs to be replaced.” What that means is you need to have clear documentation about your belongings before they are lost or damaged. That way your insurance provider can properly compensate you in the event of a claim.
The great news is that proof of ownership can be many things. While you should always check your policy’s specific requirements, as a basic rule of thumb, any of the following documents could be used as proof of ownership in an insurance claim:
- Original receipt, or electronic copy*
- Online purchase email receipt
- Bank/credit card statement
- Certificates, evaluations, appraisals
- Photographs of items
- Serial numbers
- Warranty/guarantee documents
- Operating manuals/packaging
*A photo of the original receipt should meet the proof of ownership requirements as well
Providing proper proof of ownership can be the difference of thousands of dollars after you make a claim vs not having organized records.
How can you make showing proof of ownership easy?
Up until now, creating home inventory lists has been so arduous, most of us haven’t done it. Taking pictures, transferring them to a computer and meticulously organizing text information, pictures, user manuals, warranties, credit card statements and receipts is not anyone’s idea of a good time. Excel and Word docs, the standard tools for home inventory lists, are time-consuming, messy, easily compromised, and be very insecure if shared. And even if you have persevered and created a home inventory list (an amazing feat!) it quickly becomes an outdated snapshot of your valuables as you acquire more. But by not having proof of ownership, we are all taking a huge risk of losing thousands of dollars in coverage that we are already paying for, which obviously doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Now with House Manual, you can create a beautiful, room-by-room, home inventory list on your phone, on the fly, whenever you see something worth recording. Simply snap a photo of the item and its receipt, add the serial number, date of purchase etc. and attach any manuals and warranties and you’re done! Each House Manual “Post” takes a few seconds.
Home inventory items in House Manual are saved and searchable for any future needs and protected from future changes unless you permit it to be edited. Relevant post or group of posts can be securely shared with insurance providers if proof of ownership is required.
House Manual provides a way to be prepared for the worst. It ensures that your proof of ownership documentation will always represent the true value of what you own, the more you acquire.
Is There A Homeowners Insurance Claim Timeframe To Start A Claim?
Insurance policies typically have a time limit where you must start a claim. The limit can vary from as little as 3 months up to one year from the date of the damage or loss. Check with your insurance broker to clarify the time frame within your coverage.
What happens if you can’t show proof of ownership for an item when you make a claim?
Typically you will be required to provide a full list of all your damaged belongings when you make a claim. The two biggest reason people get under-compensated in claims is due to lack of proof of ownership and not remembering to claim items.’
According to economical.com, “With no proof of ownership, insurers will usually pay claims based on the average replacement cost” of valuables. This can vary significantly in contrast to what you paid for items and can lead to significant losses.
What are the next steps to protect my insured items?
Step 1) Get a copy of your insurance policy and review the terms of your contract. Ballpark if your coverage adequately represents the value of your home’s contents and then review if there are any specific requirements regarding proof of ownership.
Step 2) Download the House Manual app for iOS from the App Store at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/house-manual/id1507211924 and create your secure account. You can provide any trusted household members with access so they can also record valuables on the fly. Anything they add will automatically be synced with what you add.
Step 3) Spend 30 min to an hour and walk room to room to make your initial home inventory. If there is more than one of you in the house, download the app on a couple of phones and divide and conquor.
In the app, take pictures of any valuables and adding any relevant information in their descriptions. Include pictures of receipts, packaging, serial numbers and more. If you have access to PDF user manuals, attach those as well. Remember to visit the garage, yard, and any storage areas like attics.
Step 4) Once you have your initial home inventory list, keep the app on hand and take pictures when you see anything else of value that you own that would fall under your insurance policy. Then when you acquire new items, record them immediately in House Manual to ensure no matter what happens, you have proof of ownership.
The Stress of Not Having Proper Home Inventory
We all think “it will never happen to me” and along with this, properly documenting gets pushed aside for any number of reasons. One of our House Manual customers was in this exact situation. You can read her story here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reality-check-your-insurance-dan-welyk/
The stress of having to deal with a massive loss coupled with trying to remember what possessions you owned and prove this, was overwhelming. Now, using House Manual, all her possessions are documented and easily updated at any time.
For most of us, the most valuable things we own are the contents of our homes. We buy insurance coverage to protect our belongings, but all too often claims can significantly undervalue them because of a lack of good documentation. Without proof of ownership, the values can instantly vanish with little to no chance for recourse.
Fortunately, House Manual app is a dead-simple way to make sure that never happens to you. Download it today at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/house-manual/id1507211924
Written by James Copeland who flies planes and designed awesome apps for a living (founder of SwiftHarbour.com and HouseManual.app)
House Manual lets you easily create secure reference guides and notes to your home for you and household members, plus caregivers, vacation rental guests, cleaners and so much more. It is the easiest way to stay organized, save time, and protect the things most important to you.
You can download House Manual on the Apple App Store here.
Other Great Articles on Home Insurace, Proof Of Ownership and Claims and more
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Home Insurance Claims, Homeowners Insurance Claims Process … — Need to file a home insurance claim? Not sure if you should? Get claims tips, advice and read common questions about house insurance claims. thinkinsure.ca
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