When you know you need to do a home inventory, whether it’s for insurance or other purposes, it may be tempting to think: “I can just do this myself. How hard can it be?” The reality is that even though on the surface it may seem like the best option, there are a number of pitfalls of which you should be aware when choosing a DIY home inventory over having it done by a professional home inventory service.
Time Consuming and Tedious
First, doing a home inventory can end up being more time consuming and tedious than you might have anticipated. Few people really have a good handle on how many things they own or how long it might take to catalog each item properly. Consider this: how much is your time worth? Most professional home inventory services will not only get the job done faster and for less cost than the hours of your own time, but will actually complete the job (as almost half of DIY jobs never get finished). In exchange for a relatively small fee, you’ll save a lot of time and trouble.
May Not Be Exact
Remember, as the owner of all the contents of your home, you may be tempted to cut corners when cataloging in ways of which you’re unaware, perhaps thinking: “I’ll remember that detail about that item later.” A third-party service, on the other hand, can be relied upon to produce a comprehensive and unbiased inventory that reflects all of your household items exactly as they are. This protects homeowners from undervaluing their assets, especially when it comes to special items and collections. As you’ll see below, this attention to detail can be of great help when dealing with claims and insurance adjusters.
Quality May Not be Optimal
No matter how talented you may be, you probably don’t do home inventories for your day job. You likely will overlook the professional skills and overall workmanship a professional service brings to the job of home inventories. Also, the methods or materials you have available to you for your DIY home inventory may not be optimal or up to date. Doing it “old school” on paper forms allows for the security vulnerability of lost or destroyed papers. A video walkthrough may sound like a better idea, but keep in mind that any new purchases will not be on the video, you’ll want to amend it regularly, and you’ll have to wade through minutes, or sometimes hours of video to find a particular room or item. Again, your information will be in a physical form such as a DVD or other storage medium and will need to be stored securely elsewhere outside your home. Your receipts and other documentation will also still need to be organized separately. Using an app—and there are plenty of those—is a possible solution, but data entry could turn tedious depending on which app you choose and how much stuff you own. So there’s that time and effort thing again. The combination of a laptop and digital camera is another possibility, but remember that some services cost money, and the software that resides on your hard drive will not be protected or available if your computer itself is destroyed.
Professional home inventories have come a long way since the use of paper forms. The implementation of new technologies, such as HD virtual tours and online organization and storage, have changed the way homeowners view, and now, interact, with their “life of things.” Homeowners can now view and search all of their personal assets in varying formats, and in one place, online. They can virtually walk through their home, room by room, and select and notate any items in the house. This not only creates and establishes visual proof of what is owned but also allows for further documentation, memorializing and heir assignment of individual items, extending the benefits of having the inventory.
May Not Hold Up in Court or Honored by Insurance Company
When conducting your own inventory, one must keep in mind that the final record may need to be used in a court setting, whether for an insurance dispute, probate or divorce proceedings. You are far less likely to have your inventory challenged if it was conducted by an unbiased, third-party professional service. In addition, if you were to need to make an item-by-item claim with the insurance company, you will find they are inclined to satisfy claims more quickly, and more accurately (affecting amount of reimbursement), if there is an inventory of what was lost, performed by a reputable professional home inventory service rather than the claimant.
Going DIY is admirable for many home projects and can save a lot of money. However, in the long run, you will likely save yourself both money and time by letting the pros handle your home inventory needs.
Want to find out more about how TakeStock can help you with knowing what you own? Contact us at 844-9-CYA-NOW (844-929-2669) or complete our contact form to request a free consultation.