How To Create a Home Inventory Checklist

Making an inventory list of all your belongings is a way to protect yourself in case of theft or fire. It may seem like an overwhelming and tedious task, but it can be done. Insurance companies require you submit an inventory of your belongings in case of a claim. If the worst happens, it’s best to be prepared.

Here’s how to create a home inventory checklist.

  1. Ask for an inventory checklist form from your home insurance company. If you don’t own your home, get a renter’s insurance policy that protects your belongings in case of a covered loss. You may also download a copy from the insurance company’s website, or create your own on an Excel file spreadsheet.
  2. With a pad paper and pen, go room by room and write down all the things you see. Include estimates of the purchase price of the items. Write down the approximate year you purchased the items. Keep note of electronics since these are the most burglarized items in a home, aside from jewelry and cash.
  3. Clothes, kitchenware toys and shoes can be listed together collectively and just write an estimated amount. It would be nearly impossible to make an inventory of every single shoe, scarf and sock you own.
  4. Add up all your total values. You’ll be surprised at the amount of items you own. The average insurance policy starts coverage at a minimum of $10,000 or $25,000 worth of items.
  5. Transfer the information you have gathered onto the pre printed checklist or enter the data in your computer. Save and print a copy. You may give one to your insurance company for safekeeping. Email a copy to yourself and save in your online folder.
  6. You may choose to keep receipts of your valuable items such as designer goods, antique or custom made furniture and appliances. You may also support your inventory pictures that you can upload so it can be easily retrieved.
  7. Make a separate inventory of jewelry and art. For these items, you may need to get an appraisal. It’s best to insure these separately as an added rider to your current policy, as all renter’s and homeowner’s insurance policies set a low cap on these items, usually $500 to $1000 total only.
  8. Make sure that your policy limits cover the total replacement cost of all your belongings. Generally, insurance companies set the limit for your personal belongings at twenty percent of your home replacement value. Based on your inventory, make sure that that coverage is enough.
  9. Keep a printed and dated copy of the inventory list in a secure place such a safety deposit box or your office. Don’t keep the list in your home or it will defeat the purpose if you have a fire and can’t retrieve it.

Making an inventory checklist of your personal property will take some time. You will also need to update it annually. If you don’t want to go through writing everything down, you may videotape all the rooms while scanning over all items and save the tape in a secure location.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use the information. But in case you do need it, it will be readily available to you if you take the time to do it properly now.


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