How to Document Your Belongings Before a Hurricane

How to Document Your Belongings Before a Hurricane

When a hurricane is bearing down on the coast, there’s too much to think about. You have to prepare your home with sandbags and create an evacuation plan if the city calls for it. However, one of the most important elements to add to your to-do list is to document your belongings. If there is hurricane or flood damage in your home, this inventory can make navigating the insurance process easier.

The good news is that you can document the state of your home well before the storm forms. Follow these steps to document your belongings with all of the information and details that you need. 

Florida house before a hurricane

What is a home inventory?

A home inventory is a record of your belongings that showcases their condition and approximate value. It includes information on the state of your furniture, art, home technology, and family heirlooms. 

When a hurricane is approaching, you don’t have time to load these items into your car. Many people return after the floodwaters have receded to find that the items in their homes are ruined. When you file a claim with your insurance company, you can file for the value of these items and have an accurate idea of how much the damage cost you with your home inventory. You will also have proof that you owned these items (in good quality) and need them to be covered.  

How can you create a home inventory?

There are many ways to create a home inventory depending on the amount of time you have. If you only have a few minutes while preparing for a storm, then grab your phone and take a video of your living area. Focus on the valuable items that you are leaving behind and explain over the video when you bought them and what they are. Additionally, you can also take photos of your home, including what each room looks like and which items are most valuable within them. 

If you have more time (during the calm months outside of hurricane season) then you can create an itemized list of your belongings. Develop a spreadsheet with a line for each item. You can Include:

  • A description of the item
  • Where you bought the item
  • When you bought the item
  • What you paid for the item
  • The item’s current condition
  • A photo of the item

If you have a receipt saved, you can also scan the receipt and save it in your inventory. 

Every time you make a major purchase, add it to your home inventory. You will want to update this list at least once per year as items are added or removed from your home. This documentation can also help you with estate planning in the future. 

What should you do with your inventory during a hurricane?

Once you have your home inventory, make sure that it is stored in a place where you can access it digitally. This can be as simple as emailing a file with the images/video/spreadsheet to a friend who will not be affected by the storm. You can also save your home inventory in your Google Drive or cloud service like Dropbox. This way, no matter how the storm damages your home, you will have access to your home inventory.  

This home inventory will be essential if your home insurance provider tries to offer you a reduced payment amount or doesn’t want to cover your hurricane claim fully. The better you document your belongings, the more you can prove that you are owed for your lost items.

Call us when your insurance company won’t help you.

If your insurance provider is still refusing to cover the cost of your lost items because of hurricane damage, call the insurance dispute attorneys to fight for you. At Herman & Wells, we specialize in denied and underpaid insurance claims. We know how the insurance companies work and can navigate the system so you don’t have to. You shouldn’t have to be an insurance professional to file a claim. Let us be the experts you need.