A record of your belongings will make filing an insurance claim much easier, and now it's easier than ever to create your home inventory!
In the event of a fire or other disaster, would you be able to remember everything that was in your home, in every cabinet and drawer? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. Here's how to create one.
Start your home inventory now
Unless you’ve just moved into your first home, starting a home inventory can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are tips that can help. Let’s get started!
Start small, tackling one room at a time. Have a goal to complete the task for example in 1 month.
Making a video instead of writing it down can make this task much easier and faster. Create a Home Inventory file in your computer, phone or online storage account.
Open drawers, closets, cabinets, describing your contents. Mention where they were bought, the brand, make and model if any, what you paid and any other detail that might help in the event you need to make a claim.
Be methodical, for example work your way up and down, left to right around the entire room, then each room of your home.
Make a habit of keeping receipts for larger and more expensive items – take photos of the receipts and keep them in your Home Inventory file.
Count clothing by general category – For example, "5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of sneakers…" Mention any items that are especially valuable.
Photograph serial numbers – Usually found on the back or bottom of major appliances and electronic equipment, serial numbers are a useful reference.
Check coverage on big ticket items – Jewelry, silverware art and collectibles, and guns may have limitations in your policy and may need special coverage. While you're making your home inventory, check with your agent to make sure you have adequate insurance for these items before there is a loss.
Don't forget off-site items – Your belongings kept in a self-storage facility are covered by your homeowners insurance too. Make sure you include them in your inventory.
Don't get overwhelmed – Once you've started your inventory, keep going even if you can't get it all done immediately. It's better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all.
Other ways to make your home inventory
A simple pencil and paper will suffice, but technology can make creating a home inventory much easier.
Take pictures – Create a photo record of your belongings that also contains written information about your contents. Keep this information off site, or see if your agent will file an electronic copy in your account.
Use an app – There are many mobile app options that can help you create and store a room-by-room record of your belongings.
Keep your home inventory up-to-date and safely stored
Your home inventory is only useful if it's accurate and you can access it to provide information to your insurance company in case of fire, theft or other destructive disaster. Regardless of the medium you've used to create your list, keep it backed up and in a safe place.
Add significant new purchases to your list – Make it a habit to add the item information and receipts to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
Backup digital files – Keep a copy on an external drive or online storage account.
Understand your app – Be sure the information you input is backed up by the app developer and that you know how to access information when you need it.
Next steps: After you've taken your inventory, click here to learn how much homeowners insurance you need.