Don’t overlook the importance of taking home inventory. It is important because homeowners insurance doesn’t only cover your physical home; it also insures your belongings within it. If you can’t remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years, you need a home inventory. An up-to-date inventory helps settle insurance claims faster and verifies losses for your income tax return. Additionally, it helps you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
To create a home inventory, start by making a list of 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 (e.g., pants, coats, shoes) making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom of the product.
Ideas to Get You Started
Don’t Put It Off
If you’ve been in the same house for years without taking inventory, then start with recent purchases and try to remember what you can about older possessions.
Appraise Valuable Items
Valuable items like jewelry, artwork, and collectibles may have increased in worth since you received them. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get updated appraisals. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items.
Take Photos And Record Video
Make sure to take pictures of rooms and important individual items. You will want to take notes about each item which include a short description, where you bought it, and the make of the item.
Use technology to create an inventory easily. Record a video walk-through of your house or apartment describing the contents. You can also use your computer to make your inventory list, and personal finance software packages often include a room-by-room inventory program. Here is a free home inventory template you can download. There are apps for your phone too.
Whatever form of documentation you choose, it is essential to keep your home inventory along with the receipts safe. A couple suggestions is to give a friend a copy or put one in a safe deposit box. This ensures you can provide it to your insurance representative in a case of a claim where your home becomes damaged. Also, when you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind. Always keep it updated.