When was the last time you made an insurance inventory for your business?
If you answered this question by shrugging your shoulders…it’s probably time.
While you may have some insurance coverage for your business, making an insurance inventory can go a long way in ensuring your business’s assets are properly covered and not underinsured.
In addition, should you have to file any claims, an updated inventory will make the claims process go quicker and smoother. Not to mention, keeping track of all of your business’s physical investments and assets is a wise business practice in general.
Okay, now you know that you need to make an inventory…but how exactly do you do that?
Making an insurance inventory
While it may seem like a cumbersome task – creating an insurance inventory is not as difficult as it seems. Really, all that you need to do is make a list. That list needs to contain all of the physical assets that your business depends on. The trick is to not miss anything. Not every item on your inventory will be obvious.
For instance, in the case of our own agency’s inventory, some obvious inventory items would be our staff’s computers, which they work on every day to service your insurance, or perhaps our printers or telephones. Some other easy ones to think of are our office furniture, office supplies and our agency building itself.
However, less obvious items include our security cameras, business signage, telecommunication cabling, a fridge, a dishwasher, a variety of other kitchen supplies and food, and even a water filtration system.
Heck, we easily have over $1000 worth of holiday office decorations – that’s worth putting on the list.
How does this apply to other types of businesses?
A contractor might think of their tools, but what about the supplies that accompany them? Hundreds of dollars’ worth of nails, screws, staples, power tool batteries, etc. would be wise to add to an insurance inventory.
Innkeepers and Bed & Breakfast owners will probably consider things like room furniture, kitchen appliances, and expensive lobby decorations, but what about the smaller things that add up? Think of complimentary items like soaps, lotions, note pads, etc. These items have value and if a loss were to occur, you might appreciate having these items listed on your insurance inventory.
Businesses that sell products will find they need to include their goods and wares in their inventory as well. Should a loss occur, having that stock covered could make a huge difference in whether or not the business is able to bounce back.
Think about your business. What items might you be overlooking?
To make sure your insurance inventory is thorough, you can organize your list room by room. It may even be worth doing a physical walk through to make sure you don’t miss anything.
What to include with your inventory
In addition to listing items, you should also take some notes to accompany them. Include item descriptions, serial numbers (when they apply), purchase dates, and estimated values to the best of your ability. The more thorough your inventory, the easier it will be to ensure your business property is accurately covered.
Saving receipts is a good way to prove the purchase date and value of an item. However, consider the replacement cost of each item, rather than how much you paid for the item. While you may have gotten a sweet deal on a piece of equipment – if you were to experience a loss, you might not be fortunate enough to replace the item at the same low cost. How much would it cost to replace the item?
A picture’s worth a thousand words
To document your inventory items you can take photos. Be sure to save documentation to multiple secure locations. Our client portal service, “InsurLink” is a perfect place to digitally store your inventory.
You can upload your photos, inventory list, and other important documents into InsurLink where they will be secure and easy to access if necessary.
In addition, InsurLink allows you to review your insurance policies, submit claims, and safely access a number of important insurance documents at the click of a button. Not to mention, it’s free to all of our clients.
Conversely, you could make copies of photos and inventory notes, or store them on a thumb drive or separate computer – but be sure that any copies are kept in a separate and secure location to avoid losing them too should you have a severe loss.
What do you do with your inventory?
Bring your insurance inventory to your independent insurance agent. Your agent, if they’re a good one, will help you go over your inventory and put together some options to accurately insure your business property and assets.
Don’t forget to notify your agent whenever you add a new piece of equipment or otherwise make a big change to your inventory. Over time you’ll have to update your inventory as your assets change and your business grows and adapts.
If you have questions about insurance inventories, or anything else in the realm of insurance, please reach out to us folks at Sidle Insurance. Call (607) 535-6501 or send us an email at Info@sidleinsurance.com. We'd be happy to help.