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Take Stock of Everything in All Rooms

October 08, 1992|RICHARD CORE

No matter what precautions you take against fire, sometimes the worst happens.

To protect yourself against loss, insurance companies say you should take a room-by-room inventory of your household furnishings and personal belongings. It will be invaluable when reporting losses to police, the Internal Revenue Service or your insurance company.

Make a list of every room's major items. Note their serial numbers and purchase prices, and attach receipts or purchase dates.

Take pictures of each wall of each room, with closets and cabinets open.

Write the date, location and contents pictured on the back of each photograph.

Store the written inventory and photographs in a safe place away from home, such as the office or a safe deposit box. Keep a copy at home to update.

Also, be sure to list the construction materials used in building your house, both inside and out. This can help with the assessment of losses, whether the home is destroyed or only partially burned.

Mary Crystal, an Allstate Insurance spokeswoman, said homeowners should review their policies once a year to make sure they have adequate coverage. "If you remodel, if you add significantly to your home, then you should update your policy accordingly," Crystal said.

The amount of coverage needed is determined by how much it would cost to rebuild, Crystal said.

Also, some insurance companies may offer discounts when homeowners take fire-preventive measures.

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