Has Your Church Completed a Personal Property Inventory?

Completing a personal property inventory of your church or ministry could be one of the wisest activities you can pursue. Could you list and value the major items in your sanctuary or office from memory? What about the personal property of others stored at your ministry facilities?

If disaster strikes and you file an insurance claim, you may need an inventory highlighting damaged items. Having a detailed inventory not only helps you determine adequate insurance coverage for personal property before a loss, but it also speeds the claim process if you suffer a loss.

An ideal inventory is a written one, supported with pictures

  • Written inventory: Your insurance agent can give you a personal property inventory form, or you can construct your own. An inventory should include:
  • Description of property or item (type, model number, serial number)
    • Quantity
    • Purchase information (where, when, how much)
    • Cost to replace new today
  • Pictorial inventory: When photographing or videotaping your contents, strive for quality reproduction. Sharp pictures and close-up shots are the best. They reveal more, particularly when you’re trying to identify and assess value.

No matter which method of inventory you choose, attach or store proof of purchases with it. These include invoices, cancelled checks, bills of sale, credit card receipts, or gift records. Update your inventory annually and keep two copies of it in separate locations and one with your insurance agent.

What should you record?

First, begin by identifying the big-ticket items:

  • Sound equipment (microphones, speakers, sound board)
  • Office equipment (computer, copier, fax, telephone system)
  • Musical equipment (organ, piano, keyboard)
  • Kitchen equipment (microwave, stoves, industrial-sized mixer)
  • Audio-visual equipment (projector, television, DVD player)

Document specialty items like unusual communion sets, candleholders, crosses, or artworks that are not part of your building. Art objects with a value greater than the item’s functional value may need special fine arts coverage. Be sure to inventory smaller items that add up when you have them in quantity; i.e. hymnals, folding chairs and tables, library materials, etc.

Continue your inventory on a room-by-room basis, and remember to itemize the personal property of others stored at your facility. If it were stolen, the owner needs to notify his personal homeowner’s insurer (his primary insurer) and know how the ministry’s insurance applies after his own insurance.

Call your agent before starting your inventory. Your agent can give you tips pertaining to your situation, answer questions about your present coverage, and help you evaluate whether you need additional insurance coverage.