One of the most important steps you can take in making sure your belongings are covered by your homeowners insurance policy is to pull together a comprehensive list of items in your home. There are many ways to make certain your home inventory list is complete, from making a video recording and storing the video file either in the cloud or in a safe-deposit box, to having a spreadsheet that is updated whenever new items are purchased or old items are given away.
It’s the first pass at establishing a home inventory that can be daunting. Like saving for retirement or doing home maintenance, starting early (before you own a lot of things) and staying on top of it (adding whenever you acquire something new) means it won’t be as time-consuming to develop.
However, if you’ve waited too long and are faced with a huge task AND you have willing participants, you might want to consider “gamifying” your home inventory.
What does “gamification” mean?
There is an actual definition for gamification. Put simply, it is the application of gaming principles to non-game contexts. Designers have learned that by incorporating game elements into tedious tasks, people are more likely to complete them.
If you have a friend with a Fitbit, or if you have a Fitbit, you probably know what I am talking about. Accruing points for hitting milestones, competing with others in meeting targets for steps taken — these are ways of “gamifying” exercise.
If there’s more than one person in your household, you can even gamify your home inventory.
A home insurance company needs details!
The more detailed your home inventory is, the more accurate it will be. The more detail, the more points that can be accrued. All participants need to do, at the very least, is be able to make lists.
To get the kids involved, you’ll need to consider their ages — this project will work best with pre-teens and teens, but younger kids can be involved if they can count things, like books, DVDs, or stuffed animals.
Each player needs to have some way of recording what the item is, the purchase date (if available, if not then estimated), value (again, estimated), and serial numbers or other identifying factors. Children who have their own rooms can start there, and then help with the common areas.
The objective is to have as complete a list as possible, so accuracy is more important than time. If you do ever need to file a homeowners insurance claim, with this comprehensive home inventory, you will have a complete list to provide your homeowners insurance company if it is ever necessary.
A detailed list will benefit you!
The most detailed list, the most items listed, and special bonus points for tackling the basement, attic, garage, or other cluttered area are all good ideas for earning points. In the end, remember that everyone who is participating is taking part of this chore off of your plate, so be generous with the rewards! Ultimately, with a detailed home inventory, you are protecting yourself and your belongings if the unexpected does occur.
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