Texans Urged to Conduct Home Inventory at Start of Hurricane Season

May 31, 2006

Recognizing the June 1 start of hurricane season, the Texas Department of Insurance issued a reminder to homeowners and renters in Texas to conduct a home inventory of their personal possessions.

“After a devastating event like a hurricane, people often find it very difficult to remember everything that was in their homes before disaster struck,” said Audrey Selden, head of TDI’s consumer protection division. “Whether you have homeowners or renters insurance, taking stock of your personal belongings ahead of time is a simple and prudent way to protect your assets and make sure the insurance coverage you have is appropriate for your needs.”

Taking a home inventory isn’t a complicated process, but it will take some time. Going room by room is a logical way to proceed. Don’t forget the garage and other storage areas. Make an itemized list of all personal property in each room, including furnishings, clothing and valuables. Your list should be as complete and detailed as possible. Your insurance company will require a detailed list of your property before paying you for any losses. Write down model numbers and serial numbers for electronics and, if possible, include copies of receipts in the inventory.

A video recorder or a digital camera can make the process even easier. Photograph or record everything inside and outside your home. With a video recorder you can describe the items as you move from room to room. Open closet doors and drawers to record items inside.

To assist consumers conducting a home inventory, TDI has developed a checklist that can be printed from its Web site at: www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/documents/cb086.pdf.

Once you’re done with the inventory, make copies and find a safe place to keep the records outside your home, such as in a safe deposit box, at a friend or relative’s home or on an internet-based file system. Remember – your inventory won’t do you any good if it’s destroyed along with your property. Update your home inventory at least annually.

In addition to conducting a home inventory, TDI offers these tips to help ensure your home or business is adequately protected:

–Review coverage and policy limits; make sure you are insured to the replacement value of your home.
–Find out whether you need windstorm insurance. Contact: Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), 512-899-4900 or visit its Web site at www.twia.org.
–Consider flood insurance; homeowner policies do not cover damage caused by flood. Contact: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), 1-888-FLOOD 29 (356-6329). Flood maps are available on the Web at: www.msc.fema.gov.
–Contact TDI if you need more information. Call 800-252-3439 or visit the Web site at www.tdi.state.tx.us.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance

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