What’s a Home Inventory and Do I Need One?

home inventory

Securing homeowners or renters insurance is a vital step in protecting your house and possessions in the event of damage or theft, but before you can make a claim, you’ll need to have a record of what you’ve lost. This is where having a home inventory becomes important.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 50 percent of homeowners they surveyed actually had a home inventory.

However, creating a home inventory list will help you:

  • Ensure you have enough coverage to protect all of your belongings
  • Validate losses for income tax reasons
  • Settle insurance claims faster

When creating a thorough home inventory, take the following into consideration:

List Everything

While it’s definitely important that you note expensive items like furs, jewelry, art and collectibles, you’ll also want to list commonplace items like towels, linens, CDs, or clothing. The cost to replace simple items like these can really add up, so be sure to update your inventory list each time you make a significant purchase.

Big Ticket Items

Items like your artwork, collectibles, and jewelry may require a separate policy. Be sure to talk with your insurer to ensure you have enough coverage for big ticket items and photo-document each asset for verification.

Important Documents

Keep a record of important documents like birth certificates, financial documents, legal documents, bank accounts, and passports. Be sure you take note of all account numbers and contact information. You may even want to consider purchasing a fire-proof safe to store these valuable records.

Recording Your Items

How you create your list is your own personal choice. There are various ways to go about it. You can take pictures and write down information on the back of them. You can use a notebook to write everything down, make a video as you walk around your home or go digital where you use a mobile app to create your list and store it online safely.

Regardless of how you create your home inventory list, it’s important that you store a copy of it somewhere away from your home, like a friend or family member’s house, online, or in a safety deposit box. If something should happen to your belongings, you’ll need to be able to give your insurance company a copy of it when you make a claim. If it gets destroyed along with your house, it may take longer to receive your settlement.