How To Take a Home Inventory

A Necessary Step for Homeowners' or Renters' Insurance

Writing diary

Although you hope you'll never have to use it, a home inventory is something that is important to take. A home inventory is a list of all of your personal possessions and their value. This is necessary for insurance claims, whether it's renters' or homeowners' insurance.

  1. Get insurance. Make sure that you have homeowners' or renters' insurance. Many people mistakenly think that they only need insurance if they own their home. However, renters' insurance can also protect your belongings, and tends to cost much less than homeowners' insurance.
  2. Set aside some time to record all of your belongings. Luckily, you don't have to record every pair of socks. Make sure you record the most expensive items - computers, electronics, etc. - and group the other items. List "Ten pairs of pants" or "4 bras." If you have any items that are worth more than the average in the group (vintage clothing, first edition books), list those separately.
  3. Choose a method of performing your home inventory. Common (and easy!) methods are to make a written inventory, a video recorded inventory, or a computer-based inventory.
  4. Written inventory. Get a notebook or a binder and dedicate it to your home inventory. Make a section for each room, and write down everything in the room. It's more user-friendly if you make columns listing the item, a description of the item, the brand name or manufacturer, any serial or model number, and the price you paid for it. Take pictures of each item (don't forget the serial numbers or brand name!) and store the pictures as well as item receipts in the binder or notebook.
  5. Video recording. This is possibly the easiest method of performing a home inventory. Use your video camera and walk through the house, recording all the contents of each room. You can dictate information about each item as you go (filming serial numbers, brand names, etc., and saying them out loud) or have a friend or family member do so while you record. Keep receipts with the recording
  6. Computer inventory. You can either perform the computer inventory in a word processing document just like you would a written inventory, or buy a home inventory computer program. The home inventory software helps you log each item, upload photos, and scan receipts.
  7. Don't forget appliances. Dishwashers, refrigerators, toasters, and other appliances sometimes get forgotten and are important.
  8. Record items in the attic, basement, and garage. Don't forget things that you have stored and aren't currently using!
  9. Copy your home inventory. Make a copy of the inventory on whichever medium you have chosen. Give it to a friend or family member who lives in a different area. In case a natural disaster hits, you don't want the copy of your home inventory to be destroyed also.

It seems like a lot of work right now, but if anything ever happens, you will be glad that you have a home inventory - it makes getting insurance benefits a lot easier!


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Storing your inventory records in a safe deposit box is a good idea also!

By Riley Klein