Homeownership leads to more possessions, due to space for storage and growing families. Protecting those possessions and valuables is important in the event of natural disasters, thefts or break-ins, fire, and other tragedies that can destroy years of collecting and memories. While these items may never be replaced, they can be protected and compensated with insurance money if correctly documented.

Getting Ready to Create your Home Inventory

  • Start by planning how to document your items using photos, videos or other methods.
  • Plan on using a spreadsheet or notebook to list more valuable items or a running list by room
  • Check with your insurance company to review your policy and see what documentation will be needed in any emergency. See if they off a checklist for your home inventory.

Preparing your Home for a Home Inventory

  • Go room to room and organize items so that valuables are out in the open and easily photographed. Keep in mind that items such as appliances, heating, and cooling systems, and permanent fixtures should also be included in the photos.
  • Open drawers and closets to reveal contents and valuables.
  • Set up a date card to document the date or use a camera with a date stamp
  • Gather receipts and values: check your policy and see what is included – depreciation and replacement values, and what factors may negate your coverage.

Taking the Photos for a Home Inventory

  • Use a digital camera or camcorder with a time date stamp or use a traditional camera and a date card. Consider purchasing additional memory cards depending on the size of your home and connects.
  • Remember to take photos outside to document siding, outdoor furnishings, fences, and outdoor features like pools, ponds, and hot tubs.
  • Take wide-angle photos to get the whole room and rotate if needed to get corners and hard to see areas.
  • Get up close to valuable items, but be sure photos are not obstructed in any way.
  • Develop to a photo CD or keep on a digital card.

Creating the Home Inventory List

  • Use free software from insurance companies or a spreadsheet. A notebook is also sufficient but time-consuming.
  • Ask friends and relatives for help in documenting items.
  • Update the list annually or after purchasing big ticket items.

After the Home Inventory List is Completed

  • Store your photos and home inventory list in a safe or safe deposit box.
  • Get any important updates to your insurance company.

Relax and enjoy peace of mind that items that may get damaged can now be salvaged.