TO PROTECT POSSESSIONS, AMERICANS NEED TO KNOW THEIR
New iPhone® application from National
Association of Insurance Commissioners
easy to create a home inventory
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 8, 2011) — When choosing
insurance, most consumers think more about the value of the home
than about their prized possessions inside. When determining
coverage needs, it is important to know all the “stuff” in your home
that warrants special protection. Insurable items do not only
include luxury items like jewelry and art, but also fun purchases
that support personal passions.
Whether it is gourmet cooking gadgets, designer handbags or
high-end electronics, what Americans invest in personal passions can
have a profound impact on insurance needs. In fact, according to a
recent survey,1 those passions may add up to a lot more
than you think:
- Fashionistas spend more than $1,400 annually on shoes, apparel
- Techies spend approximately $1,300 a year on computers, video
games and televisions.
- Foodies invest an average of $2,400 annually on high-end
appliances and fine dining.
One of the best ways to make sure possessions are fully protected
is to document them with a home
inventory. Now, creating a home inventory is easier than ever
thanks to myHOME Scr.APP.book, a new iPhone® application
from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The
Scr.APP.book app lets users quickly photograph and capture
images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores
them electronically for safekeeping (see video
demonstration). The app organizes information room by room, and
even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.
“A home inventory assures you know exactly what you own, and what
it’s worth, before you need to make a claim,” says NAIC President
and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan E. Voss. “Our research,
however, suggests almost half of all Americans don’t have an
inventory of their possessions. Our new iPhone® app makes it easy to
document your stuff. Knowing what you own will help you choose the
right coverage in the first place.”
Taking Inventory of Your Home’s
Documenting possessions with a home inventory
is the most important step homeowners and renters can take to make
sure they have enough coverage to fully protect and replace their
valuables if something happens.
10 Steps to Complete a Home Inventory
- Make a list of possessions, including ‘celebration’ purchases
such as jewelry and fine art.
- Think about family heirlooms, collections and furniture. Also
consider items related to everyday leisure time, from flat-screen
televisions to custom guitars.
- Take note of commonplace items such as toys, CDs and clothing.
And do not forget items you may only use occasionally such as
holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools and high-ticket items
kept outside your home such as landscape art and swing sets.
- Attach copies of original sales receipts and/or appraisal
documents to your inventory. Be sure to note model and serial
- Group your possessions into logical categories, i.e., by
hobby, by room in your home.
- Carefully photograph or videotape each item and document a
brief description including age, purchase price and estimated
- Remember to open drawers and closets to document what’s
- Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe,
easily accessible place such as a secured site/file online, a
fire-proof box or in a safe deposit box. You may want to share a
copy with your insurance provider so he or she can make necessary
updates to your coverage.
- Review and update your inventory annually and whenever you
make a significant purchase.
- To get started, download the free myHOME Scr.APP.book
app for iPhone® users by visiting the iTunes® App Store or
searching ‘NAIC’ in the app store from your phone. Or go to
www.insureuonline.org to print a simple home
Choosing Home Insurance That Fits
Keeping a home inventory also helps consumers stay on
top of their family’s changing insurance needs. Consumers often are
surprised by what is not covered under standard home insurance
- 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.
- Standard policies impose limits on replacement coverage for
certain types of personal property such as jewelry, furniture,
furs, firearms and electronics.
“Exactly how much you’ll be reimbursed for lost, stolen or
damaged personal property can vary greatly from policy to policy,”
says Voss. “A home inventory helps consumers determine what they
need to protect and keep their policies up to date. Knowing what is
and isn’t protected, and for how much, helps families prepare for
the worst. The last thing you want when misfortune strikes is to
learn your insurance policy won’t replace your losses. And by
choosing coverage to fit their life stages, consumers also may save
Consider the following life-stage related insurance facts:
Parents and Families:
Many homeowners’ policies do not cover items such as laptops and
televisions stolen from a dorm room; if your son or daughter lives
off-campus, you will need renter’s insurance. Most policies limit
coverage for jewelry to $500, which typically is not enough to
replace a favorite pair of diamond earrings or a wedding ring. The
standard $1,000 limit to replace computers may not be enough for a
busy household with multiple PCs.
Singles: Consider purchasing renter’s insurance to
cover your possessions, even if living with roommates — do not
rely on the landlord’s insurance. Items such as sports equipment
or navigation systems stolen from your vehicle typically are not
covered by auto insurance and must be filed against homeowners or
Most policies do not cover personal property taken with you while
deployed to a war zone; if you store belongings left behind, you
likely will need additional off-premises coverage.
If you start a home-based business after retiring, make sure your
office equipment is fully insured.
Partners: The standard homeowners or renter's policy
only covers possessions of the person named on the title or
agreement. If your name is not listed, your assets may be at risk.
for more home
insurance tips or to locate your state insurance commissioner,
an unbiased resource for insurance information specific to where you
About the NAIC
Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance
Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief
insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of
Columbia and five U.S. territories. The NAIC has three offices:
Executive Office, Washington, D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City,
Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office, New York City. The NAIC serves
the needs of consumers and the industry, with an overriding
objective of supporting state insurance regulators as they protect
consumers and maintain the financial stability of the insurance
marketplace. For more information, visit www.naic.org.