How to Create a Home Inventory

How to Create a Home Inventory

December 13th, 2018 :: Martinson Agency LLC :: Chaska, MN

The idea of creating a home inventory can be daunting. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 59% of consumers do not have an inventory list of their possessions, 27% do not have photos of their property, 28% do not have a backup copy in a secure location and 59% have not updated their inventories in over a year. 

There are many reasons why homeowners and renters should spend time creating an inventory. First, you can be more confident that you have the proper amount of coverage by having a list of what you own and how much it might cost to replace. Second, if you need to file a claim, having a properly documented inventory will make the process much simpler. Finally, if you are a victim of a burglary an inventory can greatly increase your chances of recovering your belongings.

Tips For Creating Your Home Inventory
The main thing to remember when creating your home inventory is to take your time and not get overwhelmed. Being detailed and accurate is far more important than speed.

Here are some tips to help you start — and finish — your home inventory.

  • Instead of looking at your entire home at once, cut the job into manageable sections. Start with one area of your home, such as your kitchen or a single closet.
  • Break belongings down into categories. For example: List your clothes as shirts, skirts, pants ect. Categorize appliances by their function, like cooking or entertainment. This will help you track what you have and haven’t listed.
  • Be descriptive and list details for each item. Color, make, model and price paid are all important if you are trying to replace items that are destroyed or stolen.
  • Record serial numbers on any appliances, firearms, watches or other items.
  • If you own big ticket items such as artwork, jewelry or collectibles consider having them appraised. You can then list the values in your home inventory. Values can vary greatly over time and establishing current worth will help you avoid being underinsured. Some items (such as a diamond ring) may require a special rider to improve coverage limits.
  • Be sure to take pictures or shoot video of the items as you create your inventory. The higher the value of the item the more detailed you should be. 
  • Keep your list updated. You should be actively removing old items that have been discarded and adding new purchases or gifts that you have received.
  • Make sure that you have a copy of your list backed up securely. Using a mobile app or a website is a great way to make sure it won’t be lost or destroyed.

It can be a little time consuming to create initially but once you have your inventory complete it is a simple matter of keeping it updated. At minimum review your inventory annually. Be sure to consult with a licensed independent insurance agent at Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

Website: www.martinsonagency.com

Five Things to Know When Building a Home

Five Things to Know When Building a Home

November 9th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Building a new home can be just as stressful as it is exciting. If you properly plan out the project and try to avoid mistakes, you can ensure the house stays within your budget and desired timeline. Here are five things you should know before setting out to build a new home:

1. Average Costs

Home Advisor, a website devoted to housing news and tips, estimates that it costs an average of $305,372 to build a home, with most individuals spending between $178,010 and $466,493. The website says that the number of stories, square footage, appliances, design and fixtures will impact the final price.

2. Staying Within Budget

US News & World Report states that one of the major mistakes that leads to overspending is not having a detailed plan. When a highly detailed plan is not in place before the outset of the project, the budget is highly likely to be overshot before completion. The source also urges consumers to consider their mortgage costs over the entire term when establishing a budget.

3. Know The Important Role Players

Maverick Custom Homes, a business that assists in home construction, explains that the key players in any project will include the homeowner, real estate agent, construction manager, the bank, designers, civil engineers, contractors and inspectors. The only way the house will be built flawlessly and within budget is if all of these players are chosen carefully and work toward a common goal every step of the way. Make sure you are coordinating and keeping everyone on track.

4. Know The Essential Steps in Construction

You should have an idea of how a construction project flows before you begin building. This knowledge will help to guide your decision making in a more accurate fashion. Some of the steps include:

  • Readying the land for building
  • Framing the structure
  • Handling primary plumbing and electrical work
  • Inspecting after each major component of the project is completed

5. Advanced Planning

Some of the more important components of planning could get left out of the equation, which can end up causing you major headaches down the road. Consider the following before the project begins:

  • HVAC systems of choice
  • Which rooms will have what purposes
  • How much natural light can used

Following this guidance will help you ensure that the home is comfortable and up to your standards when the project is complete.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Taking Inventory of Your Possessions

Taking Inventory of Your Possessions

September 22nd, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Individuals who have an accurate and available record of all personal assets will often be able to help mitigate the disruption and stress associated with a loss. While you could certainly do little more than write all of your items down on a piece of paper, you might want to go a bit further than that to have a more useful point of reference for your possessions and to help protect you in the event of a loss.

Notably, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a group devoted to insurance research and information dissemination, points out only about 40 percent of consumers actually keep a proper inventory of their assets.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Before taking inventory, you will need to have the right information about your assets. Consider holding on to receipts, especially for more expensive, prized and longer-lasting items like your furniture, antiques, artwork, jewelry and electronics. Also, try to keep your accounting for new possessions categorized. For example, if you have a computer that you use for work and a television for entertainment, keep those items separate.

Property Management Insider, a publication that focuses on asset management, suggests also keeping track of makes and models from manufacturers, and also label the inventory record for where the item resides at any given moment. More obviously, the news source recommends immediately crossing items off of the list when you sell, dispose of or otherwise eradicate assets.

You can then check your inventory once a month or whenever you add or remove an item to ensure it is timely and accurate on a rolling basis.

Easing The Task

You do not necessarily need to find a big ledger and keep all of your inventory on paper. In fact, this will not be the safest, nor most efficient, way to keep up. It’s a better idea to keep inventory information safe outside of your premises, particularly in digital form. Consider one of these apps for personal property inventory management:

“Sortly”: An organization app specifically built for inventory, and several notable publications such as Forbes and Fast Company praise it.

“Know Your Stuff”: The Know Your Stuff app was made by the Insurance Information Institute. It was created as a free app, which offers a range of special capabilities that improve the visibility of your possessions.

As always, part of maintaining protection for your inventory of assets is the right insurance coverage. For more information on the options that are available to you contact your independent agent in Chaska, MN today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

September 15th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Parents will face plenty of stress when sending their kids off to college. The safety and security of college students’ personal items – including bicycles, computers and other, more expensive belongings – will likely come to mind, begging the question of whether or not to purchase a renters insurance policy.

It is worth noting that most home owner’s policies extend some contents and liability coverage to family members away at school. However, the types of smaller, more likely losses that happen at college may also be less than many homeowners policy deductibles, potentially leaving families to self-insure such property. In addition, what might be covered in a college dorm might not be covered in an off-campus apartment rental. Your independent agent can help you navigate all the questions and options to ensure you have the information necessary to make the right decision.

If possessions and personal liability are not going to be fully covered by your home owner’s policy, you will need to weigh the cost of renters insurance against the benefits.

Let’s break down the facts to help you to decide how to proceed:

  • The National Center for Education Statistics, a government agency tracking higher education trends, recorded 27,600 incidents of crime at universities in 2013. Roughly 15,500 of those – or 56 percent – were burglaries.
  • Citing FBI data, news publication USA Today reports bicycle thefts are the leading crime at college campuses, with an average loss of $250 per incident and annual damages adding up to $350 million. As noted below, most basic renter’s policies are fairly inexpensive, so it may be hard to imagine the yearly cost of renters insurance being higher than a potential theft or loss.

Consider the following information:

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a trade organization for insurance regulatory professionals, estimates the average monthly premium for renter’s insurance falls between $15 and $30.
  • Computers, textbooks, bicycles and other common items kept in dorm rooms and college apartments can be easily valued in the thousands of dollars.
  • CNN Money noted renters insurance can cover liability and extra living expenses in addition to personal property.

At the end of the day, you might want to reach out to a professional to figure out if renters insurance is right for your student. Contact the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN today to gather more information.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Is Your Vacation Home Properly Protected?

Is Your Vacation Home Properly Protected?

June 23rd, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Vacation homes serve as sanctuaries from the daily stresses of life. And more and more people are investing in them. In 2014, vacation home sales soared to new heights, totaling 1.1 million, according to the National Association of Realtors – nearly 60% more than the previous year.

The question is, are Americans properly protecting their fortresses of solitude? With the median vacation home costing approximately $150,000, these investments are significant.

If you own a vacation home, the following are a few things to take into consideration to properly protect it.

Property Crime

If you’re like most vacation homeowners, your home away from home is used when you’re, well, on vacation. If you don’t rent it out, that leaves lots of time where it’s unoccupied – making it susceptible to theft.

According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, property crime in 2014 – including burglary – fell from the previous year. That’s good news, but at 118 victimizations for every 1,000 households, it’s still cause for concern.

Check out Consumer Reports for reviews on home alarm and surveillance systems. Thanks to the Internet, you can see what’s happening at your retreat in real-time. Also, make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up to date by speaking with your agent. Also consider performing a home inventory so you know the proper amount of coverage to secure.

Weather Extremes

Have you ever thought about what would happen if the water pipes in your vacation home burst? You’d have one heck of a messy situation on your hands, especially if you’re nowhere near the property to fix what’s broken. Well, if your water is left on when the temperatures plummet and the pipes freeze, it can happen. That’s why it’s worth your while to do some research on caretaker services. If you visit MindMyHouse.com, you’ll find further information about property caretaking providers and services all around the country. As detailed by The New York Times, property caretaking has become something of a “cottage” industry.

Condominium or Single Family?

When it comes to insurance, the type of property you own helps determine the policy that’s best suited for your needs. For instance, if you own a condominium rather than a single-family residence, your condo association may already have coverage. At the same time, the insurance that the association has may only protect the physical structure of the condo, not your belongings. Be sure to look into this before you consult with your independent agent.

Amenities

Vacation homes often serve as getaways from the stresses of life. As such, it’s not uncommon for owners to have various amenities, be it a swimming pool, hot tub or trampoline, among others. Because accidents are possible with these kinds of recreational items, you may want to speak with your independent agent about the liability portion of your insurance policy and your liability limit to ensure your assets are adequately protected in the event someone is injured on your property and files a lawsuit against you.

Your vacation home’s value is an additional factor that can help you assess your insurance needs. As previously mentioned, the median price for a vacation home in 2014 was $150,000. However, homeowners insurance premiums are determined by how much it would cost to rebuild your residence from scratch should it be destroyed. Your independent agent and insurance carrier can work with you to determine the appropriate amount of coverage you might need.

For more information on this topic give the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready For Summer

Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready For Summer

March 31st, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Summer is right around the corner and while you’ve probably been ready for it since December, your home probably isn’t. Here are five home maintenance tips for you to consider while prepping your home for the warmer weather.

Tune up your air conditioner — Have a professional tune up your air conditioning unit at least once per year. A professional will check for damage or leaks and make sure that your equipment is running efficiently. Don’t wait around. Your family will thank you for it.

Make room for popsicles — Empty your freezer and defrost it. This will help to melt any icy build up. While you’re at it you might as well check the expiration dates of the food in your freezer and toss out any expired items. With your extra freezer space you can load up on your favorite summer treats. (Hint: Popsicles!)

Have your roof inspected — Have a professional come out and check the condition of your roof. If there are any issues be sure to get them taken care of ASAP! A leaky roof is something that you don’t want to find out about during that first summer thunderstorm.

Let the sunshine in — Wash your windows! You can start by brushing the windows and trim with a broom to loosen some of the dirt. Use a rag or squeegee to clean the outside, and rinse with a garden hose. If you have a two story home you may want to have a professional take care of the second story for you.

Clean the gutters — A clogged gutter can lead to basement water damage, mold growth and water spots on the side of your home. These are things that are easy to avoid with a little elbow grease! Clean the leaves and debris from your gutters before you have the deal with any of these issues.

The changing of the season is also a great time to have us review your homeowner’s insurance policy. At Martinson Agency we take pride in making sure that you and your family have a competitively priced product that will provide coverage when you need it most. Give us a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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