How do I Compile an inventory?

When you are about to approach an insurance company for contents cover, you will need to have made a detailed and thorough inventory. This enables you to establish how much you need to insure your contents for. This will help you make the most of your home insurance quote for a resident policy. Your claims will be settled with greater speed, and you will waste less money on insurance by finding the correct level for you.

Should you be moving into a new home, make an attempt to take an inventory as soon as is possible. Otherwise, before you know it, your life will start to accumulate around your ears.

So, how do you actually make an inventory? Well, you need to visit every single room in your house. This should be done using a systematic method, and not forgetting lofts, basements and garages. You should look at every item in the property, and record each one with a name and a short description, which includes the make and the serial number, and an estimation of the cost of each item at today’s prices.

Use your head, make allowances for both appreciation and depreciation. How far is the object through its lifespan? How long is the lifespan? So, for example, you own a sofa that cost £1000, and you know that it is worth £800 at modern value in the shops. The sofa has a lifespan of 10 years, and you have had it for 5 year. That means that it has suffered wear and tear for half of its lifespan, so it should be valued by you as £400. You should be as accurate as you can to get the right content insurance.

Remember to give yourself time to value your inventory. Some items you will find easy to value. But others, such as art, antiques and valuables will probably need to be valued by an expert.

You should give your insurers as much information as possible, especially in terms of changes in your sum insured. Should you sell a possession of value, you should tell your insurance company. If you buy a possession of value, you should also tell your insurer. The insurance companies can adjust your sum assured according to fluctuations in price and market value. This is called index linking, and you will not be charged for this between renewal dates.

However, you will find that not all companies use index linking. Therefore, every year you should check your sum insured every year to make sure you are properly covered.

You should keep your inventory and receipts and any documents you have that relates to your possessions in a safe place with your policy. These will be very important if you claim.

Any good security tips?

Insurance companies will cut the cost of your premiums if you improve the security of your home. Some insurance companies will even refuse to insure you at all if the security levels at your property are not up to a certain standard.

But it’s not just the insurance companies who need your home to be safe and secure. It is in your interests as well. A burglary of your home can be quite psychologically disturbing in itself, and those effects can last a long time. You really do want your home to be as safe as possible. Here are some tips to make that so.

Outside doors are the most important security concern. Your doors should be fitted with mortise deadlocks up to at least the BS3621 standard. These can only possibly be opened by a key, rather than an implement such as a plastic card or by smashing a window and opening the door.

If you usually lock a door from the inside, you should also fit it with bolts. The door itself and the frame should be as strong and safe as possible. Patio doors should be fitted with extra security locks, so that the slicing frame can’t be lifted of its tracks. Double doors should be fitted with top and bottom bolts as well as these locks. The bolts should have removable keys.

Windows should be fitted with key operated locks, particularly if they can be accessed easily.

As far as keys are concerned, don’t leave them in locks, and don’t leave spare keys outside the house in secret hiding places. Try leaving a key with a trusted neighbour if you are worried about locking yourself out.

Opportunist thieves commit most burglaries. In two out of ten burglaries they don’t even have to use force – they get in through an open door or window.

Don’t make it obvious that you are going away or are away. Avoid giveaways by having a dark house with open curtains. Cancel milk and newspapers while you are away.

Make an inventory with details of your valuable possessions and their serial numbers, make and model numbers. You can buy a property marking kit to write the number of your house and postcode. Take photos as an extra precaution.

Don’t open your door to someone you don’t recognise. Use a door chain if you can, as you can look at the person and be passed identity documents without exposing yourself. Ask for proof of identity and call their head office if you are unsure.

Your small possessions can be stored in a safe. Make sure it is a good make though by asking your insurance company for a recommendation.

Burglar alarms are an added security measure, but you should again get the advice of your insurance company to ensure it conforms to safety standards.

Finally, join a local neighborhood watch scheme, or create one if there isn’t one there.