An article from Property Casualty 360.
In “Home Alone,” Kevin McCallister is left to defend his family’s home when two thugs attempt to break in on Christmas Eve, while the rest of the family is traveling overseas. While the likelihood of an eight-year-old being left home alone for the holidays is a stretch, a home robbery during holiday travel is more likely than you’d think.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Statistics, the number of long-distance trips by Americans increases by 54 percent during the Thanksgiving travel period. The number rises by 23 percent during Christmas and New Year’s.
Burglars can take advantage of this to break into homes. According to Nationwide claims data over the past three years, there were almost 15,000 home thefts in the peak holiday travel months of November, December and January. As homeowners travel across long distances and for extended periods of time, they leave themselves more vulnerable to the occurrence of home theft.
Locking doors, installing a home security system, refraining from promoting your travel online, putting a hold on newspaper and mail delivery, and informing your neighborhood watch program are all good advice from Nationwide to deter a burglary. But, it’s important to recognize that even if one takes all these precautions, a theft can still occur.
Nationwide encourages consumers to account for their possessions before leaving on trips by creating a home inventory. Here are a few simple tips on taking inventory of your home before embarking on your holiday travels.
Use home inventory software. The Insurance Information Institute has a free online program that allows consumers to catalog all of their belongings. It is available here.
Move from room to room, listing items as you go. This method should be used every time you update your inventory. Don’t forget to include the items in the basement, attic, garage, and any detached structures, such as a tool or storage shed.
**Remember, the Reno Agency offers a free Home Inventory Documenting Service to all our current customers. If you would like to take advantage of this, please call us at 269.792.2232 to schedule.
Use credit card and checking account statements to confirm purchases if needed. Also, create a list of each credit card you have with the corresponding customer service number in case your purse or wallet is stolen. This way, you have the number to contact to report a stolen card(s).
Look for manuals on the items that will help with model numbers and verification of ownership.
Work with your agent to complete the inventory. If you are unsure if an item is covered by your insurance policy, call or visit with your agent.
Keep a copy of your home inventory list elsewhere. Share the list with a trusted friend or family member, keep a copy in a bank safe deposit box, or store an electronic version in the cloud using a provider such as Dropbox. Free cloud storage of up to 2GB is available through Dropbox, which allows you to access your files anywhere with internet access.
Update your coverage. Make sure you update your current inventory list with your insurance agent if you’ve recently received new gifts, or purchased new household items such as furniture, appliances, etc.