Delaware insurance regulators say failing to create a detailed home inventory can put homeowners at risk for inadequate home insurance coverage, should severe weather strike.
The regulators pointed to a recent survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which found that more than half of Americans don’t have a home inventory of their possessions.
The NAIC survey revealed 59 percent of consumers have not made a list or inventory of their possessions. Of those individuals with a home inventory, 48 percent do not have receipts; 27 percent do not have photos of their property; and 28 percent do not have a back-up copy of the inventory outside the home.
Additionally, 59 percent of people with inventories have not updated their inventories in more than a year, meaning new purchases and gifts may not be covered.
“Violent weather events affected approximately 80 percent of the nation’s population over the past six years. In 2011 many Delawareans experienced the effects of Hurricane Irene which left widespread destruction in her wake,” stated Delaware insurance commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart.
“Creating a detailed inventory of your possessions is one the best ways to ensure you have the right amount of homeowners or renters insurance for you and your family.”
Last year alone, severe weather disasters across the country inflicted more than $43 billion in damage.
The commissioner said NAIC’s myHOME Scr.APP.book application makes it easier for consumers to document their valuables, update inventories and store the information for easy access after a disaster. The app is free and available for both iPhone and Android smart phone users. The app organizes information by room and creates a back-up file for email sharing.
For those without a smart phone, the Delaware insurance department website offers a downloadable home inventory checklist and tips for effectively cataloguing possessions. Both are available at www.delawareinsurance.gov.
Before severe weather strikes, consumers can use their inventory to evaluate their coverage and determine if they need to update their policies. It’s important to know that how much is reimbursed varies greatly from policy to policy, Commissioner Stewart noted.
On average, home contents are reimbursed only up to 50 percent of the home’s insured value, i.e., $50,000 to replace the contents of a home insured for $100,000.
“All renters and homeowners should develop a home inventory, and this is especially important for established families with years’ worth of family possessions,” said Commissioner Stewart. “Whether it is electronics, furnishings, collectibles, jewelry or clothing, families need to know what they own and how much it’s worth.”
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