A Guide To Home Inventory

Compiling a list or documenting all of your possessions may seem like an odd, unnecessary and daunting task (not to mention a lot of work and energy), however, imagine how hard creating a list of your belongings would be if they all one day were gone. Home inventory lists are critical for many insurance purposes from filing a claim to ensuring you have the correct insurance coverage limits. We’ve broken down a home inventory list guide below to answer all of your questions.

What is a home inventory list?

Home inventory lists are exactly what they sound like—a list of items and personal belongings that you keep in your home, condo, apartment, etc. You can categorize this list by room, type of item, or any criteria that makes the most sense to you.

Why do I need a home inventory list?

The primary reason you need a home inventory list is to be able to prove your losses when filing a claim to be reimbursed by your insurance company. When you make a claim, the insurance company is going to ask you for a list of these losses, as well as value among other details that we’ll cover below.

Home inventory lists are also great at helping you understand how much and what kind of insurance you need when obtaining homeowner’s insurance for the first time or even renter’s insurance. Having this list can also give you a better idea on what is and is not covered in the event of loss or damage.

What does my home inventory list need to include?

Your home inventory list needs to include as much detail as possible but can vary depending on the item you are documenting. Here’s a general guideline below:

  • Item description
  • Make, model or serial number
  • Any appraisals or price at time of purchase
  • Date and location of the purchase
  • Receipts, photos or any relevant documentation
  • Estimated replacement cost if re-purchased currently

Heirlooms, antiques or any items that are irreplaceable should be discussed with your insurance advisor to find out how to itemize and how it would be covered when filing a claim.

Home Inventory Lists: How To Get Started:

There are several home inventory apps you can download on your smart phone to help you through this process, and some insurance carriers have these tools as well. Be sure to read reviews before downloading an app and are aware of the privacy and security policies.

A great starting point is to walk through each room of your home and capturing video—this is not enough to file a claim in general, but can serve as proof of loss and a starting point should you need to file a major claim. You can also take photographs of your belongings, serial numbers, receipts, etc. to have as backup in the event the tangible documents and items are damaged. Upload the photo or video files to a secure drive or cloud-based storage system and organize in whatever way makes sense to you. Many people organize by room and different areas of the room.

Pro tip: Don't forget any belongings you have in drawers, cabinets, storage sheds, attics, etc.

Where do I keep my home inventory list?

Keeping a tangible copy is fine, but ensure you have these files backed up to a cloud-based storage drive that is accessible to you at any point via app, mobile device, etc. When utilizing storage provided by an app or any technology, make sure you understand your privacy settings and security of the service. Keep your home address off of the document in the event someone gets a hold of it and then has access to a list of your possessions and their value. The most important thing is to make sure that it is safe, secure and available to you anytime, anywhere.

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