Steps to Creating a Home Inventory
When you get a homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance policy, you need to know the value of your belongings to insure. Often coverage is determined without creating an actual home inventory. In the event of a fire or other disaster, having an up-to-date home inventory will ensure your insurance claim is settled faster and more accurately.
Here are some helpful steps to help you create one:
- Use an inventory form: Starting from scratch can be tricky if you have never done one before. Find sample inventory forms online to assist you and start with basic information of each item.
- Technology: Use technology to assist you with creating and maintaining your home inventory. Take pictures, videos, or use a phone app to assist you.
- Serial numbers: Record serial numbers on the inventory for major appliances and electronics. Keep proof of value such as purchase receipt.
- Expensive items: Take special note of art, jewelry, or other collectibles you own. These types of items could also require additional insurance coverage and proof of ownership.
- Clothing: Count the items you own by category. This would include shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, etc. Make notes if some items are designer or more valuable.
- Home computer: If you have a home computer, you’ll want to document the hardware. It’s also a great time to make sure you have all of your data backed up. Use a cloud-based service to keep copies of all your documents, photos and other personal files. You can also use an external hard drive.
- Off-site items: Don’t forget items that you have in storage or at another location.
- Keep it up to date: Once you have your inventory completed, make it a habit to update regularly.
- Storing your list: Keep copies of the list, photos or videos in more than one location to prevent loss of the inventory in a disaster.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of getting started. This is a big job and best completed in stages! Once you’ve completed your list, review it with your insurance agent to determine if your insurance coverage is sufficient. And, don’t forget to reward yourself for your accomplishment. Completing a home inventory is a big step!
Written By Becky Salsburg, CFP ®, EA