WORCESTER, Mass., Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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% of insurance professionals believe homeowners insurance claims are processed 50-100% 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," said 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% of the Insurance Journal poll respondents indicated a home inventory results in claims being processed a full100% 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. One leading online tool that guides users through the process is MyHanoverInventory.
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:
- 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
"Don't procrastinate and have regrets later," Welzenbach said. "This is a small investment of time that could pay a significant return."
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.
For an independent agent in your local area, please visit the "Find an Agent" section at www.hanover.com.
The Insurance Journal poll, conducted in April 2014, received 610 responses.
About The Hanover
The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is one of the top 25 property and casualty insurers in the United States. For more than 160 years, The Hanover has provided a wide range of property and casualty products and services to businesses, individuals, and families. The Hanover distributes its products through a select group of agents and brokers. Through its international member company, Chaucer, The Hanover also underwrites business at Lloyd's of London in several major insurance and reinsurance classes, including marine, property and energy. For more information, please visit hanover.com.
- Consumer Discretionary