It is very important to have property insurance in the event of damage and loss, but keep in mind you must be able to show proof of your contents and personal property in order to establish the loss to your insurance carrier. Creating an inventory of possessions contained in your commercial structure will take some upfront work, but it will likely make the claims process with your insurer easier should the need arise, as well as increase your potential recovery. The items covered under “Business Personal Property” coverage will usually include furniture, fixtures, equipment, and other non-realty. For a business that leases its operating premises, “Business Personal Property” can also include tenant improvements within the leased facility.
If you’re just setting up your business, starting an inventory can be simple. If you’ve been operating out of the same business location for many years, however, creating an inventory list may seem overwhelming.
Here are some basic steps to ensure your inventory is as complete and accurate as possible:
Include Basic Information – Describe each item, noting when and where you bought it, the make and model, what you paid, and any other helpful details. Tax records showing the depreciation of capitalized items are often helpful in forming this list.
Keep An Inventory Outside of the Building – Make at least one backup copy of your inventory document and store it separately somewhere away from the structure, such as in a safety deposit box or on a cloud based server. One easy way to make a backup of a paper list is to take pictures of it with a smartphone, thus ensuring both a paper and digital copy.
Keep Proof of Value– Maintain records of sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals and keep them with your inventory list. You may also want to include the estimated cost of replacement.
Record Serial Numbers – Make a formal note of serial numbers found on the back or bottom of office hardware and electronic equipment.
Take Pictures or Videos – Having photos and video records of your covered items will provide evidence needed in the event of a claim for loss.
There are many tools available to help you collect the inventory information you’ll need when making a claim for loss. Your insurance company may offer an inventory tool in its own app; even if they do not, ask them what they recommend since they will be the ones evaluating any potential future claims. In addition, there are quite a few inventory apps you can download, including Sortly and Know Your Stuff.
The attorneys at Raizner Law are leaders in insurance recovery litigation. Our attorneys have achieved significant outcomes for clients both in the courtroom and at the mediation table. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no upfront cost for working with us, and you won’t owe us anything unless we help you obtain compensation. Contact us today for more information about your insurance claim.