How To Do A Home Inventory

Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you:

  • Purchase enough insurance to replace the things you own.
  • Get your insurance claims settled faster.
  • Substantiate losses for your income tax return.

You can always simply make a list in a notebook and save receipts and photos in a file. There are also free software programs to help you. Here are just a couple that we might suggest:

Know Your Stuff – Home Inventory

All My Things – Home Inventory

Where do I start?

If you have been setting up a household, starting a home inventory can be relatively simple. You could even attach recent wedding registries to substantiate new possessions. But, if you have been living in a house for many years, this task may seem daunting. If you set aside an afternoon and get your entire household involved, it can be an enjoyable experience. It is much easier to document your possessions before you suffer a loss from a fire, hurricane, burglary or other disaster.

Write it down

List your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category — pants, coats, shoes, for example –- making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliance and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.

Big ticket items

Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.

Take a picture

Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers.

Videotape it

Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents.  This is very easy to do with today’s smartphones.

Storing the list, photos and tapes

Regardless of how you do it (written list, DVD, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.