The First Step to Figuring Out Renters Insurance: Take Inventory

Having a list of all you own is important when shopping for renters insurance. Check out 3 apps that can make the inventory process less painful.

Moving is a full-time job, one that you probably don’t have a lot of extra time to manage. Whether you’re headed down the street or across the country, there are a million things to do, and taking inventory for your homeowners or renters insurance probably isn’t at the top of your list.

I can sympathize. Last month, I packed up my life in Detroit to move west and join the Esurance team in San Francisco. Although I may not look it (I fear the bags under my eyes will be a permanent accessory), I’m actually getting settled in my new life by the Bay. Boxes are unpacked, IKEA furniture assembled, and I haven’t lost my balance on the train in a week.

What have I still not tackled? Renters insurance.

It’s not that I don’t realize the importance of insuring my stuff (I do work at Esurance). But whenever I begin to research policies, I’m stopped the second I have to enter the amount of coverage I actually need. How much stuff do I have? How much is it worth? I have absolutely no idea.

Inventorying a life’s worth of things is a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re starting with a blank slate. Add the fact that you have to put a cash value on that integrated tube amp your boyfriend bought on eBay and it becomes downright terrifying.

But fear not, my friends! Taking inventory doesn’t have to be so bad. There’s an app for that!

In fact, there are a handful, and I’ve spent the past few days getting familiar with the best ones to keep your stress levels low and your treasures accounted for.

myInventory

Available for iOS devices
Cost: free (sort of)

myInventory’s clean and simple design makes it super easy to use. Not only is it intuitive, but myInventory features both a photo option and a barcode scanner that can (sometimes) import the current cash value of your item. Pretty cool and a huge time-saver. You can save standard data including price, warranty, and date of purchase, and myInventory will create a comprehensive list, totaling up your assets.

Best part: myInventory has eBay integrated right into the app, which would be handy if you ever decide to sell those 20-year-old comic books in the basement. The app can also send you a notification if an item’s warranty is about to expire.

Bummer: There are additional charges for all “premium” services. Unfortunately, this includes scanning more than 50 items, having over 100 items listed, and synching your account with other devices.

myHome Scr.APP.book

Available for Android™ and iOS devices
Cost: free

Created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), myHome Scr.APP.book is a no-frills, nuts-and-bolts inventory app. It offers the basics (snap a photo, enter price and purchase date, and you’re good to go) and you can add as many items as you want. It’s not flashy, but it’s straightforward and allows you to turn your list into a PDF or email so you always have a backup.

Best part: The NAIC includes some insurance “preparedness” tips, which can help you determine the right policy for you.

Bummer: It doesn’t have a barcode scanner, but you can save the serial number of your 60-inch plasma TV — you just need to enter it manually.

Belongings

Available for iOS devices
Cost: free

I’ve always been a sucker for packaging, and Belongings is, in my opinion, the most visually pleasing of the bunch. Belongings is easy to navigate and offers unlimited items, a barcode scanner, a desktop version, and an iPad® companion app.

Best part: Belongings has a “statistical inventory” feature that will give you a ballpark figure of what your assets roughly amount to. Just answer a few simple questions and boom: you’ve got a cash value. Obviously, it’s still best to keep a detailed list of your things, but it’s nice to have a starting point in case you’re not up to the big task just yet.

Bummer: It appears to have a few bugs and can run a bit slow.

No matter which app you choose, keeping an inventory will help you answer the question of “How much?” when choosing either renters or homeowners insurance. And the best part? Tackle it once and it’s easy to add to and update your inventory with new purchases later.

So step up to the challenge, and start cataloging your stuff. When you’re finished, stop by and get a free renters quote from Esurance.

Related links:

Renters insurance FAQ
Time to take inventory

 

One Response to “The First Step to Figuring Out Renters Insurance: Take Inventory”

  1. Frank Thomas
    January 13, 2014 #

    Thanks for the TIPS!

    Hopefully you don't mind we listed your article as a reference on an article I wrote :)

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