Big ticket items
Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.
Take a picture
Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don't forget things that are in closets or drawers.
Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder.
Use a personal computer
Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowners room-by-room inventory program.
Storing the list, photos and tapes
Regardless of how you do it (written list, floppy disk, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend's or relative's home. That way you'll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged.
When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind. If you need to relocate, keep your receipts. If your home is severely damaged and you need to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, keep records of all additional expenses incurred. Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the "loss of use" of your home.
Get claim forms
Once your insurance company has been notified of your claim, the company is required to send you the necessary claim forms to you by the end of a specified time period. (The time period varies from state to state.) Return the properly filled out forms as soon as possible in order to avoid delays.
Have an adjuster inspect the damage to your home
Your insurance company will probably arrange for an adjuster to come and inspect your home. Once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of your settlement, state laws require that you be sent payment promptly. In most cases, your claim will be processed quickly. If you have any questions about the claim filing laws in your state, call your insurance agent or your state department of insurance.