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How to Update Your Home Inventory After the Holidays

Make sure your new gifts—as well as present possessions—are protected against loss.

As the holiday season winds down, take time to give yourself an important gift: an updated inventory of your household possessions.

A home inventory is your master record of all your possessions in the event of a fire, theft or natural disaster. And your insurance claim is based on that record which helps you create your proof of loss—so if it isn’t up-to-date, you may not be fully protected.

According to a 2012 survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 59 percent of Americans who have home inventories haven’t updated them in more than a year.

So make your first goal of the New Year to document your belongings. Right after the holidays, you may have many new—and possibly valuable—items to add to your inventory. Here’s how to do it:

Get valuables appraised

Have high-value belongings such as jewelry, collectibles and art professionally appraised to document their worth. If you received antiques or family heirlooms as gifts, be sure to have those appraised too. Then, take the appraisals and pass them on to your insurance representative if you choose to separately insure those items.

Update your digital inventory

Take photos of your new belongings, and label each with important details about the gift. You also could shoot a video and narrate this information as you’re recording. If you use online software to keep an ongoing list, such as this household inventory log  from the Insurance Information Institute, now is a good time to remember to update your records and to include images of newly acquired items.

Update your written inventory

Add all of your new possessions to your current home inventory—no matter how small. MetLife Auto & Home’s Personal Property Inventory Kit can help you stay organized. Write down a general description of each item, and list specifics like the cost, brand, model and serial number. If possible, attach copies of receipts or appraisals.

Return your inventory to a safe place

Store a copy of your inventory away from your home in a safe-deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. Back up digital files to a CD or external hard drive, and keep those copies in a secure off-site location too.

Make sure you’re covered

Visit with your MetLife Auto & Home representative to review your current homeowners or renters policy. Using your updated inventory, MetLife Auto & Home can help you determine the type of insurance you need.

Stay up-to-date

While updating your home inventory is a good annual to-do item, it pays to update your records more frequently as you purchase or receive new items—especially items of high value.

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