How To Create a Home Inventory & Why It’s Important

Posted on Mar 20, 2018

How To Create a Home Inventory

If there was a fire, flood, or another disaster, would you know all the possessions you had? Chances are, you wouldn’t. That’s why a home inventory list is important, whether you live in a single-family home, condo, or apartment. It will help you determine your losses and make your insurance claim settle faster, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It also helps you buy enough renters insurance or homeowners insurance coverage to protect your possessions.

Below are 7 practical tips to help you create your home inventory list.

1) Be Thorough

Try your best to document all your belongings thoroughly. This will help move your claim process along smoothly if you’ve just experienced a disaster that led to you losing valuable items. Walk through each room and list items as you go. Ensure you document items in your:

  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Detached structures like a shed

Pay close attention to the possessions you find most valuable like artwork, antiques, and electronic equipment. Documentation should also include things like:

  • Credit card statements
  • Receipts
  • Appraisals
  • Other transaction documents

Once your home inventory list is complete, be sure to update it as you obtain new items or no longer have others.

2) Summarize Multiple Items

You don’t need to record everything separately like clothing, books, movies, or kitchen items. Instead, just count your items up and record the totals. But, you should list expensive items like designer clothing, costly kitchen items, coveted artwork, expensive jewelry, musical instruments, collectibles, and quality tools separately.

Be sure to check with your insurance agent regarding valuable items, as you might need a separate add-on or rider policy to cover those.

3) Record Serial Numbers

You should be able to locate serial numbers on the bottom or back of your electronic equipment and major appliances.

4) Don’t Forget Items Off-Site

If you have items in a self-storage facility, your homeowner’s insurance usually covers these too. Be sure to list those as well. As a reminder, don’t forget items that you have in your shed and tucked away in your attic too.

5) Use Technology

Make creating your home inventory list easier by using technology. Use your digital camera or smartphone to take photos of your items. These allow you to add in a description of each item when you save their picture.

Walk through your home and videotape the items while describing them out loud. You can take advantage of mobile apps to help you create and store your list of belongings. While pen and paper are good enough, technology makes it so much easier to create your home inventory list.

 6) Update Your Inventory Often

Each time you purchase something valuable, add it to the list while you still have the details of the item fresh in your mind. Also be sure to delete any items you no longer have. It’s a good idea to review your list annually to ensure it’s current.

7) Store Your Home Inventory in a Safe Place

For digital inventories, simply store your list in the cloud or on a memory stick. If it’s a paper list, print it out, attach all pictures and receipts and put the inventory in a safe spot like:

  • A fireproof safe
  • A safety deposit box

Let your family and friends know where you put the inventory list, so if you need to update it, they can locate it easily.

A home inventory list makes the insurance claim process go much smoother. Many people can’t recall what they did the day before never mind try to recall all the items in their home after a catastrophe. A disaster is stressful and scary. By documenting all your belongings ahead of time in your home inventory, in times like these, it can be a huge relief. Another side benefit of creating a home inventory is to remove clutter by selling or discarding items you no longer need or want.

Once you’ve created your home inventory, you’ll need to determine how much insurance you’ll need to cover each item. Work with us here at Otterstedt Insurance Agency to help you do just that.

We’re here to help. Contact us to review your home inventory by calling 201-227-1800 or by completing our online form.

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