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When a disaster strikes, the last thing a homeowner wants to do when filing a claim is try to organize all of the items lost in the event in order to substantiate their loss in as much detail as possible. That’s why this hurricane season, Bay state residents should consider creating a home inventory of their belongings.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a PDF Home Inventory Checklist and a mobile app called MyHome Scr.APP.book for iPhones and Android devices to help you catalog and save your inventory.

In your home inventory, include the make and models of your appliances and electronics and as many receipts and serial numbers as you can. To keep track of all purchases, digitalize your receipts on mobile apps or ask for them to be emailed to you at checkout. Art, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles should be independently appraised because if they exceed the limits of your insurance, you may require an additional policy. It may also be helpful to take photos or a video of the items in your home.

Each year, take into account any changes since your last home inventory and be sure to update it. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may also need to be updated as you review your home inventory to ensure that it meets you and your family’s needs. To figure out exactly how much coverage you need, tally up the cost of furniture, electronics, kitchen supplies, and clothing to determine how much you’d need to replace those items. There is also a difference between reimbursement for an item’s actual cash value, which is its current value, and reimbursement for the full value of the replacement cost. Purchasing replacement cost coverage is more expensive, but it is more likely to offer accurate compensation should you need to have possessions replaced.

For more information on homeowner’s insurance, visit the Division of Insurance’s website:  https://www.mass.gov/home-insurance

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry. Contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

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