- Keep an inventory. As a homeowner, you should keep a detailed inventory of your possessions, especially expensive ones. Electronics, jewelry, and furniture can cost you thousands of dollars -- if you do not record these items in an inventory, your insurance company may not be able to cover the loss. It's important to supplement your inventory with video or photographic evidence. Grab a video camera, or even a good quality cell phone camera, and go through your home room-by-room. Focus on expensive items and their serial numbers, should there be any. In this way, your insurance company can cross-reference the items with receipts you provide.
- Be knowledgable about your home. When you buy a home, get all the important details about it such as when it was built, the kind of foundation it has, the heating system, and what renovations/improvements have been made. These all add to the value of the home, and are important for an insurance company to know.
- Report renovations. Let your insurance company know of any major renovations that will improve the value of your home. For instance, if you finish the basement or renovate the kitchen, you've added serious value to your home. If you don't report these improvements to your insurance company, you may not be able to claim the added value.
- Consider getting a pro. You may want to consider having a professional appraiser look at your home and possessions. Precious heirlooms may be worth a lot, but without verification by a professional appraiser, you will likely not be indemnified the true amount.
By taking into consideration these principles, you will save yourself considerable time and energy in the unlikely event that disaster strikes.