Why you Need a Home Inventory List (and How to Make One)
Even if you’re a practicing minimalist, you likely don’t have a running tally of all of the things you own along with their current dollar value. A home inventory list is a detailed record of all the personal property in your home and on your property. If you ever have to make an insurance claim, this can be a helpful resource during a stressful time.
Here we’ll explain the benefits of having a home inventory list, how to create one, and where you should store the actual document.
Why you need a home inventory list
The hope when you purchase your insurance policy is that you never actually need to use it. Practicing some basic loss prevention at home can help with this. Unfortunately, you can’t predict when you might experience a major loss from a fire, storm or theft. If you have to file an insurance claim after an unfortunate event, your Claims Specialist will ask for a list of the property that was damaged or destroyed, along with any photos or receipts you have documenting their value.
It’s hard at the best of times to remember all of the items in your home and how much you paid for them, especially if any of the items were gifts purchased by someone else. You’ll be able to file your claim faster — and save yourself a headache — if you have a list of all your furniture, clothes, kitchenware, sports equipment and electronics prepared ahead of time.
How to document your property
The goal when doing a home inventory is to be as thorough as possible. That said, documenting all of the things you own can feel like an overwhelming task when you’re first starting out. We’ve put together a list of tips to make the process go smoothly. You can also download our Home Inventory Brochure to give yourself a head start.
Tips for making a home inventory list:
1. Concentrate on one room at a time
This is the best way to keep yourself from getting frazzled. Documenting your valuables room-by-room will not only make the work more manageable, but it will also ensure you don’t miss any important items. It doesn’t matter which room you start in, but make sure to include low traffic areas like the utility room and hallways, as well as outbuildings like sheds and garages. Add the value of each room together at the end to find out how much everything you own is worth.
2. Use a pre-made list
Whether you want to document everything digitally or with a paper and pen, save yourself some time by using a pre-made home inventory checklist. There are plenty of resources out there that include every kind of common household item you can imagine — all you have to do is punch in (or write down) the things your own.
3. Take photos and videos
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The same goes for photos or videos of your property if you ever need to make a home insurance claim. Take photos of big-ticket items and make short videos of each room while narrating what each piece is and how much it’s worth. Make sure you open closets and drawers to get everything on camera.
4. List high-value items separately
Most home insurance policies have limits for expensive items like jewelry, furs, electronics, valuable antiques or special collections. Depending on their value, you may need additional coverage for these pricier items. List them separately and with as much information as you can — such as model and serials numbers, how much you paid and purchase date and location.
5.Keep your list up-to-date
If you buy something new (especially if it’s one of those expensive items we mentioned earlier) make sure you add it to your home inventory right away. This can help you keep track of the value of your property and let you know if you need to increase your coverage or make changes to your home insurance policy to protect your new items.
Where to keep your home inventory
Now that you have a detailed list of everything you own from your attic to your basement, you should take steps to keep your inventory safe. After all, it’s not very useful if the only paper copy of your home inventory gets destroyed in a house fire. Making copies of the document and keeping it off-site or scanning the pages and storing them on an external hard drive or cloud software are all good ways to make sure the information is accessible if the worst happens.