|Survey Finds Homeowners Receive Insurance Claim Payments Faster with Home Inventory|
| RISMEDIA, Friday, August 15, 2014— A recent survey of insurance professionals points to a tangible reason for consumers to take the time to create a home inventory record that lists the contents of their home. The Insurance Journal magazine poll, sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group, found that nearly 80 percent of insurance professionals believe homeowners insurance claims are processed 50-100 percent faster when customers have completed a home inventory in advance. |
"This survey says loud and clear that there's a real value in taking the upfront time to create a home inventory," says Mark Welzenbach, chief claims officer at The Hanover. "You never know when a disaster will strike – whether it's theft, damage or weather, but when it does, the priority is to restore your life. A home inventory documents your contents and the value of your possessions to help expedite the claims process."
Welzenbach said that "cycle times," which refers to the time it takes for an insurance company to process a claim, vary depending on the size of the loss from a few days to months. Over 20 percent of the Insurance Journal poll respondents indicated a home inventory results in claims being processed a full100 percent faster - and that could translate to a settlement happening several weeks sooner.
Insurance professionals say there are two keys to a good home inventory: item descriptions and proof of ownership. For electronics or appliances that means serial numbers, make and model, along with receipts or warranty information. For collector's items or jewelry, appraisals and photos are recommended.
Fortunately, today, there are numerous ways to complete an inventory, ranging from printable inventory sheets to apps for smart phones and tablets.
The process of completing an inventory often helps homeowners better understand the value of their property contents. Items such as sports equipment, tools, instruments and clothing, as well as valuables like art and family heirlooms, add up and often point to the need for modifications in homeowners policy coverage.
"Choose whatever inventory process helps you get the initial work done and, importantly, that you will update regularly," Welzenbach said. "If you suffer a loss – whether a lost piece of jewelry or a fire -- you'll be glad you're prepared."
Several opportune times to update an inventory are:
"Don't procrastinate and have regrets later," Welzenbach says. "This is a small investment of time that could pay a significant return."
- New home – document contents upon move-in
- Remodel – if furniture or electronics are upgraded along with the home
- Holidays – when "celebration" purchases of high value are often added
- Daylight Savings Time – make a habit of updating your inventory annually when you change the clocks in the spring
Be sure to keep your inventory in a safe place, away from home. Ideally a hard copy is kept with a family member or in a safe deposit box, and an electronic copy is stored on a server, such as a home inventory website, that is accessible in an emergency. The Hanover Platinum Experience provides home inventory tools, as part of a complete, multiline personal insurance program