If your home was destroyed in a fire, tornado, earthquake, flood, or other disaster, would you be able to remember all your personal belongings, valuables and other items?
Creating a home inventory will ensure that in the event of such a loss, your homeowners insurance claim will be settled faster. It can also help you determine how much insurance you would need to cover your home and its contents.
1. Make a list of everything you own.
Use this helpful Home Inventory Spreadsheet to start. Go from room to room and list each of your possessions. Describe its name, make, model, and where you bought it. List its value, and if you have any receipts or appraisals, store those in a safe place. For clothing, count the items you own by category (pants, coats, shoes, for example), and keep track of any especially expensive or valuable items. Record the serial numbers of large appliances and electronics.
2. Sooner is better than later
If you have been in the same residence for many years, your home inventory list could be quite large. So start with something, even if it’s recent purchases or the more expensive items. Having a partial list is better than none at all.
Jewelry, art and collections might need to be insured separately. “Riders” or “floaters” are common insurance policies that cover expensive items that are not covered by basic homeowners insurance. Ask your agent for more details.
4. Pictures and videos are an easy way to do a home inventory
You can save a lot of time by taking pictures or a video of your belongings. If you take pictures, you will need to write descriptions that go with each picture. If you videotape, narrate through your possessions to give as much information as possible to help your insurance agent determine the value of such items.
5. Inventory software and apps
There are many free or inexpensive applications that can help you create a home inventory. The I.I.I. offers free Web-based software, “Know Your Stuff® – Home Inventory”. The software includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime. It also comes as a mobile app from the iTunes Store and Google Play.
6. Store your list off premises
However you make your home inventory, either on spreadsheet or by video, make sure to keep a copy safely stored outside your home so if you do have a disaster, your inventory will not be destroyed with your other personal belongings.