You never know when a disaster may strike, but you can be prepared with a home inventory as part of your emergency plan.
A home inventory can help you
- Buy the amount of insurance you need
- Get your insurance claim settled faster
- Verify losses for your income tax return
- Keep track of the belongings you’ve accumulated over the years
There are many ways to create a home inventory. It may seem hard at first to record information about everything you have in your house, but don’t let that put you off.
First, decide on a way to organize your inventory that works for you. You can do it room by room, category by category (furniture, electronics, etc.), from newest items to oldest or from most expensive purchases to least expensive ones.
There are different approaches to making your list. You can write everything down in a notebook, for example. Or you can take pictures, writing information on the back of the photos or putting information on your computer. If you have a video camera, you can walk through your house filming and describing the contents at the same time. If you have a a personal computer, you can download free software that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy at www.KnowYourStuff.org.
Keep receipts when they are available and note the cost for the item, when you bought it and information about the make and model.
Expensive items like jewelry and art work may need to be insured separately. Ask your insurance agent whether you need additional coverage for your homeowners policy.
Your can keep your inventory in a notebook listing belongings by item, description, when/where bought, make/model number.
Store a copy of your inventory in a safe place outside of your home with a friend or in a safe deposit box. If your inventory is electronic, store it on a USB drive or on a cloud-based storage system. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. Also, whenever you make a significant purchase, remember to add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
There are lots of online tools available to help organize a household inventory. Most larger insurance companies have them as to insurance trade associations. Here’s one that includes a list of items your can use as a reminder from State Farm Insurance: