If a disaster were suddenly to strike where you live, like fire, and you lost practically all of your possessions, the home insurance policy you bought would kick in and make everything ok again - right? Well, not so fast. "Maybe" may actually be a more accurate answer. A great deal depends on your policy's limit for "contents" and how you can substantiate your claim.

Perhaps you haven't even bothered with home insurance, thinking you don't have much to insure anyway. But ask yourself, "What would it actually cost to replace all of the stuff in my home?"

It may seem to you at first glance that you don't have terribly much to insure, but consider for a moment how you would cope if you had to suddenly replace everything that you've accumulated over the years. Would you even have the presence of mind to recall all the items of value that you owned under such traumatic conditions?

Stop for a moment to think what it would cost to replace shoes, clothes, accessories, games, sports equipment, electronics, cameras, kid's toys, television sets, kitchen utensils, appliances, furniture, and on and on it goes. Replacing music and media collections as well as collectibles, can quickly add up to substantial amounts of money, but because they often take years to accumulate, we often forget their true replacement costs.

Home insurance is important, not that expensive, and can save you significant money should you ever need to make a claim.

Know what you're insured for and what you're not

When purchasing a home insurance policy, or any insurance policy for that matter, make sure you take the time to read and understand the policy before you buy.

Typically, most people know vaguely what their home insurance policy covers, but relatively few take the time to inform themselves of the specifics. To find out after the fact that you're not covered for something that you thought you were is an experience you just don't want to have. Not only do you want to make sure your policy limit is enough to replace your everyday items, but you will also want to make sure that any jewelry, furs, antiques, artwork, expensive computers or bicycles you may own are covered. Often these items are specifically itemized on a policy outside of the standard contents coverage.

Make an inventory of your possessions

An up-to-date home inventory is one of the best ways to make the most of your insurance dollar should you need to submit a claim. An inventory should be comprised of not only a list of all of your personal possessions but their estimated values as well.

A home inventory helps you to:
  • Purchase enough content insurance to replace the items you own
  • Get insurance claims settled faster. Don't underestimate how important a speedy settlement can be, if you should lose everything.

Depending on how you go about it, making an inventory does not have to be complete drudgery. In fact, you might find it interesting to learn just exactly how much "stuff" you have that makes your house your home.

Some options for completing a home inventory:

  • With a pen and pad, methodically write everything down, while documenting items of special importance with pictures. Don't forget to include details like quantity, make, model, and serial number where available. A tip you might find useful, is to do your inventory room by room.
  • There are many helpful online versions of the notebook inventory. It makes it easier to recall what you have, and will want to include in the inventory, as they typically start you off with a list of common household possessions. It also makes totaling value of the items easier - all you have to do is punch in the values and it adds it up for you!

Probably one of the easiest ways to enhance your home inventory is to use a video or digital camera. You can walk through your home or apartment, documenting as you go, while briefly discussing each item of value. Don't forget too keep any bills, receipts, warranties and instruction manuals with your completed inventory. The more thoroughly you document your inventory, the better.

Don't forget to make a copy of your records and store them elsewhere.

Inventorying your possessions, and then storing it with everything else that you own is not the best plan. So, make a copy of the records, and ask a relative or trusted friend to keep the copy at their place. (Offer to do the same for them.) If disaster should strike, the copy of the inventory of your possessions would not be destroyed along with your other possessions.

Take the time now to make a record of your possessions and minimize the worry later.

Most people are honest. But unfortunately, insurance fraud happens and it has its costs--not just in the amount of premiums we pay. A home inventory will help you to get the insurance money for all the insured possessions you submit on your claim while speeding up the claims process-getting the money into your hands sooner. So, do yourself a favour, take an inventory of your stuff, keep relevant receipts, and keep a copy of the inventory somewhere other than with the rest of your possessions.

If disaster should strike, and you've completed a home inventory, you will be relieved in knowing you decided to tackle the relatively easy task of making an inventory of your possessions. It may not sound like much now, but at a time of high-stress every bit helps-your home inventory will help you get back on your feet quicker.

Once you know how much you have to insure, make sure you're not overpaying by shopping around for your policy before you buy. Kanetix makes it fast and easy to compare multiple quotes online. Shop for your homeowner, tenant or condo insurance at Kanetix, to save both time and money.

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