Safe Deposit Boxes and Your Home Inventory

A home inventory list provides you and your home contents insurer with a thorough assessment of the contents of your household, as well as the approximate worth of each item, should you have to lodge a claim. 

This list, in conjunction with the appropriate insurance cover, is used to protect your financial well-being in the event that your home contents, assets and other valuables are damaged, stolen or lost due to unforeseen circumstances, such as theft and natural disaster.

For example, the importance of a home inventory rang true during the recent bushfire crisis experienced in Australia. As reported by the ABC, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) issued recommendations that you should carry out, “a room by room inventory of goods well before bushfire season, so should the worst happen you’re not trying to remember what belongings you had after a fire.”

Why You Need a Home Inventory

A home inventory list as a part of your home and contents insurance is not only focussed around what nature can take away from you. As made apparent in this article by 7 News, the recent bout of panic induced by the Coronavirus or COVID 19 saw a “Brisbane restaurant allegedly targeted by thieves who stole pasta and other unusual items,” after two men went out of their way to break into the premises using an angle grinder. 

The above raises the concerning questions of, what happens when the country is really in trouble? If the above example is a product of panic, then what will happen when the people around you are truly desperate? The simple answer being, that you will see a rise in theft, home invasions and overall crime rates.

No matter what the risks may be, these uncertainties do exist and having a detailed list of your home contents will help you to remember what assets and items you had, as well as the associated value of these so that you’re not left guessing after it is too late.

What to Include in Your Home Inventory

Considering that creating a home inventory is a step that you can take now to support any future claims you may have to make, you will want to create a list recording all the items of value in your household. As recommended by the ICA, you should undergo a room by room inspection of your household. 

While the whole experience may be overwhelming, you may simplify your process by starting with newer items and working through items according to categories. Also, remember to include basic information in a description of each item and attach a proof of purchase like a receipt or an appraisal, and where possible note the serial number that exactly identifies with any particular item.

Most Importantly, Store Your Inventory Offsite

When you have completed your home inventory, it is important to keep the photo or video evidence, as well as your home inventory list away from your household.  It can be as simple as recording all your assets room on your smart phone and then converting this to a USB drive. The reason being, you do not want to risk misplacing your home inventory list, or for the list to be stolen or damaged along with your household goods due to unforeseen events.

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to safe-keep your home inventory. For example, there are a number of home inventory software options that allow you to record your home inventory in an app and back up your info from the convenience of your pocket. 

Store Your Home Inventory in a Safe Place

While the above is worth looking into, the fact is that data is just as vulnerable as your household possessions, as the premises that store your data are just as susceptible to natural disasters, theft and human error. Therefore, you will need to keep a physical records offsite, as well as have a digital record available.

Furthermore, you may have items in your household that are of higher value and will necessitate separate insurance, raising the cost of your overall home contents insurance plan.

An example that comes to mind to show the importance of this approach is the story of a friend whose home burned down recently. He and his wife went to the shops on a Saturday morning and came home to find 3 fire brigade units surrounding the smouldering remains of their family home.  They argued for 9 months with their Insurer to receive their pay-out. This placed undue stress and angst on them. All their family photographs and records of their assets were on their home computer which was destroyed in the fire along with all of their possessions. 

As they had an acreage property along with animals (horses and goats and chickens),  they ended up buying a camper van to live on-site to tend and care for their animals and sort through the ashes. Their lives had been thrown into disarray and the uncertainty over their future lasted for 9 months until a settlement was reached. All this could have been avoided if they had a home inventory or video evidence of their belongings, and a secure, off-site location to store these. 

At Private Vaults Australia, we offer a solution a step above the rest, with a complimentary insurance starter offering of $20,000 on any size safe deposit box in our fire and flood safe, secure storage facility, which affords you the safest place to store your valuable items while lowering your home contents insurance at the same time.

For more info on safe deposit boxes and your home inventory, contact PVA or read the PVA blog for more interesting news, tips and ideas to guide you.

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