Protect your belongings

No matter how well you try to safeguard your home and your prized possession, it's still impossible to predict what will happen. When disaster or thieves strike at your home, you need to be prepared for any sort of negative repercussion. One of the most important ways to protect your home and all of your possessions is to not only guarantee you have homeowners insurance, but also you keep proof of everything you own.

Purchasing and staying up to date on your home insurance policy helps ensure you don't lose any of your important objects, since many of these items can be replaced with adequate coverage for your personal belongings. Typically, 50 to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on your home will go toward replacing stolen or destroyed personal belongings, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Creating an inventory
However, homeowners need to have proof of ownership of these objects, otherwise the insurance companies will have very little incentive to provide the necessary reimbursement for any lost or damaged items. Unfortunately, a majority of homeowners do not follow this crucial step. According to a National Association of Insurance Commissioners survey, 59 percent of respondents do not keep their prized possessions or valuables listed in an inventory for safe keeping. Without maintaining an accurate listing of important items kept in your home, you can miss out on the opportunity to have them replaced when the time comes. These belongings can include furniture, clothing, sports equipment, technology and many other items, although some objects, such as photographs and home movies, by their nature, cannot be replaced.

Making a list and documenting what you own is a good way to ensure you can protect your personal belongings.Making a list and documenting what you own is a good way to ensure you can protect your personal belongings.

It's important to keep receipts with this documentation as well. Simply writing down that you own a computer is not enough to recoup the item after a disaster strikes. Having detailed lists, accompanied by receipts and photographs showing the objects are in good condition will go a long way to help you receive adequate compensation for anything that's been stolen or damaged. Unfortunately, 48 percent of survey respondents did not have receipts for any of their personal belongings, while 27 percent did not have photos either. Homeowners need to retain some sort of physical proof to back up the inventory, otherwise insurance companies will be less likely to reimburse homeowners for these lost or damaged items.

This method works even for things that are not in the home. For expensive belongings that are worn outside the house or that you bring on a vacation with you, such as jewelry and furs, most homeowners insurance plans cover the losses if these are lost or stolen. While the dollar amount on this type of coverage is typically capped at $1,000 to $2,000, it might not cover extremely costly items, but it is worthwhile nonetheless.

In addition to objects in the home and things you bring on vacation or take outside of the house, homeowners insurance can also protect the flora growing in your yard or on your property. Trees, shrubs, flowers and other living plants are typically covered by up to 5 percent of the insurance on the structure of your home. 

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