Three ways to take a Home Inventory

The new year is a great time to take stock of your household belongings and update your home inventory. If you experience a fire, theft, or other significant loss, the insurance company will ask for a list of your belongings. This can be hard to remember, particularly during a stressful time. 

A full home inventory makes your claims process easier if you have a loss. 

Here are some different methods you might use:

Video Records
Use the video feature on your smartphone to walk through your home room-by-room and pan over your belongings. Include an audio commentary noting any significant items, and capturing any info about quantity, age, or price that seems relevant. Open cabinets, drawers, and closets to record those contents, and remember to review your basement and garage storage, too.

Make each room or level of your home a separate video to keep file sizes manageable. Label or tag your video files and back them up to the cloud. Or store your videos on a jump drive you’ll keep offsite.

Mobile Apps
You can find several home inventory apps online, including Know Your Stuff created by the Insurance Information Institute. These apps help you track more detailed information, including model and serial numbers, photos, and scans of your receipts and appraisals. Some apps include reporting features that allow you to export your data to PDF or Excel—ideal if you ever have to report a loss.

Mobile apps provide a handy way to update your home inventory on an ongoing basis, as you buy new goods throughout the year. Whenever you make a notable purchase, snap a picture of the item and the receipt right away.

Manual Records
If you’re not a smartphone user, or you just prefer the tangible nature of paper records, you might like the home inventory checklist from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This printable form helps walk you through the main rooms of your house and includes reminders for miscellaneous items you’ll want to record. 

Whichever method you choose, remember to make copies and store them offsite, in the cloud, in a safe- deposit box, or with a trusted friend. You don’t want your only records kept on a computer or phone that could be stolen or lost. An up-to-date home inventory makes the claims process faster and can provide the verification your insurance company may require for certain high-value items.

Contact an agent near you for more details.

Check homeowner’s policy to protect guests from the Grinch

Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Christmas a lot...But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!

It’s Christmas and you’re hosting the annual family gathering. Everyone’s packages are piled in festive mounds around the tree, and overnight guests have dropped their bags in the upstairs bedrooms. But before it’s time for presents and pie, the whole family heads out for an evening service or an afternoon at the snow hill.

What happens if the Grinch pays a visit while you’re gone and swoops up all the bags and boxes? Who pays for the Xbox from Grandpa to cousin George? And what about the iPad that disappeared from Aunt Alice’s backpack?

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant, Around the whole room, and he took every present!

Theft is a common insurance claim around the holidays. (But so too are fires and water damage from frozen pipes.)  If you have the MILE-STONE® homeowner’s insurance policy from SECURA, your guests’ belongings are covered, should any of these holiday disasters hit.

Check with your insurance agent to ensure your policy offers the same kind of coverage. Some policies include coverage for guests by default, but others require special coverage via a special rider.

Be aware that your homeowner’s policy only covers guests (including relatives staying for an extended period). Items belonging to a paying roommate or tenant would not be covered. 

Take care of your guests and foil any green old Grinch who might come calling this year. Make sure your homeowner’s policy extends to the friends and family visiting your home. Call your SECURA agent to verify coverage today.

He brought back the toys! And the food for the feast! And he, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch carved the roast beast!

With excerpts from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, by Dr. Suess.

Stay a step ahead — Preventing slips and falls at your business

Slip and fall accidents rank in the top five causes of injury in any season, and they are prevalent during the winter months because of wet or icy floors. Here’s how you can help prevent these types of accidents in the workplace for visitors and employees.

Keep it dry 
Black ice is barely visible to a person’s eye but can form in minutes and makes walking or driving dangerous. These conditions are preventable, so take the following measures:
  • Keep a dry mop near employee and visitor entrances. 
  • Clean, mop, and dry floors continually. 
  • Place non-slip absorbent mats at entrances. 

Clear away snow and ice 
Eliminating slippery surfaces can significantly reduce injuries, so be sure to:
  • Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in readily accessible areas. 
  • Shovel and salt as often as necessary to keep walkways clean and dry. 
  • Watch for areas where ice tends to form and remove ice accumulations promptly. 
  • Before cold weather arrives, verify your contract with a snow removal company to keep your parking lots clear of snow and ice. Confirm they are ready to provide service. 
  • Limit walking to designated walkways as much as possible, and discourage taking shortcuts over snow piles and in areas where snow and ice removal is not feasible. 
  • Place quality, beveled edge mats in walking areas subject to water or snow accumulation. Change mats regularly to ensure those in place are dry and serviceable. 
  • Apply a slip-resistant floor treatment in shop areas. 
  • Check which ice or snow-melting chemicals are appropriate for the temperature and surfaces where they will be used, and keep a Material Safety Data Sheet on site in case of an emergency. 
  • Assign hourly checks of walkways. 

Emphasize attentive work habits 
Even when a safe environment is provided, workers need to follow guidelines and take personal responsibility to reduce winter slips and falls:
  • Wear shoes or boots specifically designed to provide traction on wet, slippery surfaces. 
  • Take short steps to maintain your center of balance. 
  • Walk slowly and never run on snow or ice-covered surfaces. 
  • When entering and/or exiting vehicles, use the vehicle for support using three points of contact at all times. 
  • When entering a building, remove snow and water from footwear, which can create wet, slippery conditions indoors.